Publication date: Jul 14, 2023
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic shed light on stark racial and ethnic inequities in access to care and accurate health information in the U. S. When COVID-19 vaccines became available, communities of color faced multiple barriers that contributed to low vaccine rates. To address this gap, the Equity-First Vaccination Initiative supported community organizations in five demonstration cities to plan and implement hyper-local strategies to increase COVID-19 vaccine access and uptake among communities of color. Purpose: To draw learnings from the experiences of the participating organizations, we applied a framework that integrated implementation science and health equity principles. Design and sample: In this commentary, we describe how we used this framework to guide qualitative interviews with community organizations, focusing on insights across five implementation elements (reach, design, implementation, adaptation, implementation outcomes). Conclusions: Learnings from this evaluation may help guide future implementation of similarly complex initiatives involving multiple organizations and sites to advance health equity during a public health crisis.