Turning vaccines into vaccinations for all New Yorkers
The COVID-19 vaccines are a source of great hope after a long and terrible year. The next challenge is ensuring ALL New Yorkers have access to the vaccine and feel comfortable taking it. Communities of color have been hit the hardest by the pandemic for a variety of reasons including systemic racism, which also contributes to distrust of the vaccine. That’s why we’re proud to partner with the New York City Commissioner of Health and FPHNYC Board Chair, Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, to support the Vaccine Equity Initiative.
This initiative will focus on ensuring access and uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine by all New Yorkers focusing on groups at greatest risk for exposure or severe illness. To ensure the vaccine is widely available, the City is scaling up distribution sites across all five boroughs as supply increases.
The City is also collecting and sharing data in real time including the number of doses reserved by the Federal government for NYC, number of doses received, and the number of doses administered. To ensure transparency and track progress, this information is updated daily and can be found on the Department of Health website.
Ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 Vaccine
On January 12th, Commissioner Chokshi provided City Council testimony on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Accessibility in NYC where he detailed the plan for vaccinating all New Yorkers against COVID-19. He emphasized the City’s unwavering commitment to equitable distribution, access and uptake by stating:
“We will support access to the COVID-19 vaccines by ensuring that we have enough vaccination locations in neighborhoods that have experienced ongoing disinvestment and inequities as well as high rates of COVID-19 infection and death.”
In addition, the City is hosting a series of Community Conversations in these same neighborhoods, listening to all and working with trusted messengers to reach more New Yorkers. Furthermore, vaccine site planning includes eliminating all barriers to access for people who are disabled, do not read or speak English, are undocumented, experience mental illness, and who struggle with substance use disorders or homelessness.
Supporting a Historic Moment
To support this effort, FPHNYC is raising private funds to enable the City to expand work with community partners, open vaccination locations in neighborhoods with high rates of COVID infection and death, strengthen confidence in the vaccine with clear messages and trusted messengers, counter misinformation, and offer patient navigators to help individuals manage the challenges of getting vaccinated.
We are in a race against time. It will take all of us: public health professionals, the philanthropic community, and the private sector working with local, state and federal government to ensure fair and equitable distribution and access to the COVID-19 vaccines. At FPHNYC, we are honored to be a part of this historic moment, working alongside one of the greatest Health Departments in the country.
If you would like to join us in the Vaccine Equity Initiative, you can contact us at [email protected]