Surgo Ventures and Resolve to Save Lives release new blueprint for states, counties, and cities to improve COVID-19 vaccine equity

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2021—Today, Surgo Ventures and Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, released a four-step, data-driven blueprint for public health officials and local leaders to help them increase vaccination coverage in their communities, and do it equitably.

The blueprint is being released at a critical time: according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis that included 41 states, the percentage of white people in the United States who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose (44%) was roughly 1.4 times higher than the rate for Black people (31%) and 1.3 times higher than the rate for Hispanic people (35%) as of June 7, 2021.

Increasing COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake: A Four-Part Framework to Promote Access, Acceptance, and Equity outlines a clear process that decision makers can follow to identify local barriers to increasing vaccine uptake and design, implement, and continuously improve solutions to increase equitable coverage. The process consists of four key steps:

  • MAP – Map vaccination coverage in a state or a county to identify those communities with less than 70% of the eligible population vaccinated with at least one dose.
  • DIAGNOSE – Use the framework to diagnose which challenges—vaccine demand, access problems, or both—are contributing to low vaccine coverage in a community.
  • ENGAGE – Engage with community leaders to address those challenges and localize solutions to address the unique needs of the community.
  • IMPLEMENT/MONITOR/EVALUATE – Implement, monitor, and evaluate solutions to determine if vaccine coverage is improving in a community.

The framework, which has been endorsed by the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, blends Surgo Ventures’ portfolio of precision data tools and expertise and Resolve to Save Lives’ experience in scalable, simple interventions that can be implemented at speed to fight epidemics.

“During this National Month of Action, we are grateful to partner with Resolve to Save Lives in providing this comprehensive guidance on how to increase vaccination coverage and make it more equitable, especially in historically marginalized communities,” said Dr. Sema K. Sgaier, Co-Founder and CEO of Surgo Ventures and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Our framework allows for a data-driven and localized approach, which is what we need to achieve the country’s vaccine goals.”

“COVID-19 remains a threat, especially where vaccination rates are low, and there’s still work to do to make sure that everyone is protected,” said Amanda McClelland, Senior Vice President, Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “With this framework, state and local public health officials can work with local communities to meet people where they are and provide solutions that address the specific barriers in a community.”

“Using a structured approach that is informed by community metrics is a sound way to improve community uptake of public health interventions,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association. “Using this approach to increase COVID-19 vaccinations is a critical step to ensuring adequate community vaccination levels.”

“This framework provides state, county, and local leaders with data-driven strategies for increasing COVID-19 vaccination uptake among communities that have too often been left behind during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Mark McClellan, Director, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.“Collaboration between state, local, and community organizations will be critical to breaking down remaining barriers to vaccine access. This is a practical set of tools and resources that leaders of those organizations can draw on to support vaccine equity.”

Download Increasing COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake: A Four-Part Framework to Promote Access, Acceptance, and Equity.

About Surgo Ventures

Surgo Ventures is a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving health and social problems with precision. We do this by bringing together all the tools available from behavioral science, data science, and artificial intelligence to unlock solutions that will improve and save lives. We work globally: in the United States, the United Kingdom, and in low- and middle-income countries. We support governments and private and nonprofit organizations, helping them scale interventions on issues including COVID-19, tuberculosis, maternal and child health, housing, and more.

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, focuses on preventing deaths from cardiovascular disease and preventing epidemics. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible.

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About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a not-for-profit organization partnering with countries, communities and organizations to prevent 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease and make the world safer from epidemics. To find out more, visit: or Twitter @ResolveTSL.