CHICAGO — Three leading national health care advocacy organizations today urged all health care professionals to redouble efforts to collect and report race and ethnicity data when administering COVID-19 vaccinations. In an open letter, the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and the American Pharmacists Association noted that improved data collection is critical to ensure access to vaccines in vulnerable populations and improving vaccine confidence.

The full text of the letter is below, and can be downloaded here.

An open letter to America’s health care professionals,

We join today to strongly encourage you, our fellow health care professionals and other key stakeholders, to redouble efforts to collect and report race and ethnicity information when administering COVID-19 vaccinations. This information will allow our nation to better understand whether we are providing access to vaccines to vulnerable populations and inform efforts to improve vaccine confidence.

Race and ethnicity data provides critical information to clinicians, health care organizations, public health agencies and policymakers, allowing them to equitably allocate resources across all communities, evaluate health outcomes and improve quality of care and delivery of public health services.

Data from the first month of the vaccine roll out indicates that race and ethnicity information is missing in almost half of vaccination records reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While there are some barriers and challenges to collecting race and ethnicity data, health care professionals are critical in asking for the data due to the trust patients have in our work. We encourage clinicians to share with patients in a transparent and culturally sensitive manner why collecting race and ethnicity information can help improve the health of their families and communities. These actions reinforce our commitment to high-quality equitable care.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the need to ensure all individuals and communities receive equitable care and resources. Systemic racism and routine exposures to discrimination within our health care system have produced an environment in which Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Indigenous communities have historically been underserved by and do not always trust our existing health care infrastructure. The CDC and other researchers have determined that these long-standing injustices have unfairly and disproportionately impacted racial and ethnic populations, putting them at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Collecting and analyzing race and ethnicity data can help to ensure accountability to affected communities and to our equity values, strategies, and goals.

As organizations deeply committed to health equity, your efforts to collect race and ethnicity data are integral to ensuring equitable distribution and access to the COVID-19 vaccine and improving the health of our nation. Thank you for being our partners in the battle against COVID-19 and for your selfless dedication to your patients and community.

In health,

American Medical Association
American Nurses Association
American Pharmacists Association

Media Contact:

AMA Media & Editorial

ph: (312) 464-4430

[email protected]

About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.