Statement on COVID-19 Vaccines

Statement on COVID-19 Vaccines

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice

COVID-19 Vaccine Statement

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the unprecedented shutdowns, quarantine periods, and social distancing caused by COVID-19, it weighs heavy on our minds that over 525,000 lives have been lost in the United States alone to this ongoing global pandemic. While we continue to learn more from research about the disease and we anticipate the availability of vaccines to broaden, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice (Latina Institute) wants to be clear on where we stand on the vaccines themselves and their availability, distribution, and affordability. One of our roles as a community-centered organization is to provide our communities with the most accurate information available so that they can exercise their agency in making the best decisions for themselves and their families.

For Latina Institute, that means providing resources to our communities about the vaccines and their availability, addressing their questions, advocating for full and free access to the vaccines, and fighting to ensure that there is an equitable distribution process. We will inform our communications to the community with the latest scientific information about the COVID-19 vaccines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Our priority is to provide Latinas/xs the information they need about all their healthcare options so they can access care without economic barriers or fear due to im/migration status, shame, or stigma.

Latina Institute stands firm that vaccines must be free of charge and accessible to everyone, regardless of their im/migration status. To achieve this, health authorities must pledge and make it clear to im/migrant communities that they will not share any personal information collected for public health purposes with any law or im/migration enforcement agencies under any circumstances.

The fear and distrust in our communities is not simply about vaccinations. It is rooted in the knowledge that communities of color have historically experienced discrimination and have repeatedly been stripped of their agency by public health authorities, including being misled about treatments, provided substandard care, and used in experiments without their knowledge or consent. This has cultivated a climate of doubt and suspicion around public health efforts in many Latina/x, Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color.

Given this toxic history, we call on all public health efforts distributing the COVID-19 vaccines to honor individual agency, offering clear, accurate information and access to vaccines for the community, without wielding shame, stigma, or coercion to induce any person or community into being vaccinated.

At Latina Institute, we know that individuals are the best agents for their own care and that of their families, and we will continue to demand that our elected officials develop policy solutions that ensure that all of us – including all im/migrants – have access to affordable healthcare as we navigate this public health crisis and beyond.