COVID-19 Vaccine Equity: Reaching marginalized communities
As you are aware, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on the low-income communities of color that we serve. Now we are also seeing evidence of inequities in vaccination levels both locally and nationally.
Thanks to our partnership with our local health departments and Inova Health System, we have also been able to vaccinate our staff against COVID-19.
At Neighborhood Health we are focused on increasing equity in the vaccine rollout here in Northern Virginia. To that end, we have set up four vaccination sites in areas accessible to the communities we are trying to reach. This includes sites in the Route 1/Richmond Highway Corridor, Bailey’s Crossroads, Arlandria, and near our Casey Health Center in Alexandria. Thanks to the work of our staff and volunteers we have administered 10,000 vaccines to date with more than 85% of recipients being people of color, particularly Hispanic and Black residents. We are planning to open additional sites over the coming weeks.
We are being intentional about prioritizing equity in our vaccine rollout by exclusively targeting populations most affected by the pandemic. Our sites are not open to the general public. We are vaccinating our own low-income patients and members of their households. We are also working with a broad coalition of community partners to reach the marginalized communities that they serve. This includes faith organizations, non-profit and community-based organizations, and local agencies. We have received more than 2,500 referrals from our community partners to date.
Last week we received our first vaccine shipment directly from the Federal Government as part of the Biden Administration’s Community Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program. We are grateful to be one of the initial health centers from across the country to be selected for this program.
We are also grateful for the extraordinary support that we have received from our partners, whether in the form of space, volunteers, financial and operational support, and assistance in reaching marginalized communities. We are excited to be working together with you. We look forward to expanding our efforts together and ultimately helping to end the pandemic in the communities that have been most affected by it.
Basim Khan, MD, MPA – Executive Director