(Las Vegas) – Today, Clark County and the Southern Nevada Health District, along with community partners, launched the “Back to Life” COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness Campaign to encourage Black and African American residents in Clark County to get their COVID-19 vaccinations when they are eligible and to address disparities in access to the vaccine.
In Clark County, we have been making progress in increasing vaccinations among racial and ethnic groups, including African Americans. However, several factors still contribute to the lower response rates including socioeconomic status, access to health care/vaccination distribution sites, exposure to the virus related to occupation, knowledge about the safety and effectiveness of available vaccines, and historical mistrust and skepticism among African Americans in the health care system.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated existing health disparities, resulting in African Americans in our community experiencing higher cases, mortality rates, and hospitalizations from COVID-19,” said Clark County Commissioner William McCurdy II. “The ‘Back to Life’ campaign is an initiative that seeks to increase vaccination rates among Black residents and express the importance of everyone being vaccinated.”
“African Americans comprise about 12.5 percent of Southern Nevada’s population. As of March 19, only 5.7 percent (29,067) of the vaccine first doses administered in Clark County have been received by African Americans. It is almost half of what would be expected based on the proportion of African American among Clark County residents,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, District Health Officer. “This is a significant challenge for our vaccination campaign, and we must increase our efforts to ensure the vaccine is fully accessible to our African American communities.”
According to the Southern Nevada Health District reports, the following ZIP codes have experienced the highest number of COVID-19 related cases since the beginning of the pandemic: 89110, 89108, 89115, 89030, 89121, 89031, 89032, and 89122.
“As more vaccine doses become available and eligibility widens to include more residents, we are committed to reducing COVID cases and getting vaccinations into those ZIP codes that are hardest hit by COVID-19 and to the people who need them the most,” said Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick. “We want to stress that the vaccines are safe, effective and free to all residents. We also want to encourage everyone to keep doing the things that we know limit the spread of the virus including frequent handwashing and wearing masks in public places.”
The “Back to Life” campaign will be supported by the newly created Southern Nevada Black Coalition, a group of local medical professionals, elected officials, influencers, business, nonprofit, and faith leaders who will work together to educate community members and encourage more vaccinations, help dispel myths and build trust in local healthcare entities and assist in getting vaccinations to those who lack access and means.
Campaign materials include billboards, PSAs, flyers, and social media posts featuring images of African Americans getting back to life and enjoying a return to work, family, and normal activities with the message that residents can help our community beat COVID-19 by taking their shot. The effort also will include community events and outreach to residents. The campaign’s webpage, www.clarkcountynv.gov/backtolife, located on Clark County’s website, includes downloadable materials for individuals and organizations wishing to support the effort and help spread awareness about the importance of vaccinations among the Black population. People can also follow @BacktoLifeSNV on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and use the hashtag #BacktoLifeSNV.
Local residents are encouraged to visit the Southern Nevada Health District’s website for detailed information about COVID-19 and to book vaccination appointments at SNHD sites including Cashman Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center: www.SNHD.info/COVID.
Additionally, starting today, Nevadans over age 16 with underlying health conditions are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the state’s Retail Pharmacy Plan. A vaccine locator tool on Immunize Nevada’s website lists pharmacy sites: https://www.immunizenevada.org/covid-19-vaccine-locator. Starting Monday, April 5, all Nevada residents 16 years of age and older will be eligible to receive schedule vaccination appointments. Residents who have vaccine-related questions or need help booking appointments may call (800) 401-0946.
About Clark County
Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability. With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 11th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to 2.4 million citizens and 45.6 million visitors a year (2019). Included are the nation’s 9th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to 1.1 million residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.
About Southern Nevada Health District
The Southern Nevada Health District serves as the local public health authority for Clark County, Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite and North Las Vegas. The agency safeguards the public health of the community’s residents and visitors through innovative programs, regulations, and initiatives focused on protecting and promoting their health and well-being. More information about the Health District, its programs, services, and the regulatory oversight it provides is available at www.SNHD.info.