COVID-19 Vaccination Outreach and Messaging
Special Projects Fund
March 18, 2021
Community health centers (CHCs) are usually located in low-income areas and communities of color—many of the same communities hardest hit by COVID-19.
Collectively, CHCs serve 1.3 million New Yorkers statewide; many of these patients have been at highest risk for severe negative health consequences of COVID-19. Across the State, the rate of COVID-19 deaths among Black and Hispanic New Yorkers has been disproportionate to their representation in the population. Most recently, data have emerged showing inequities in initial vaccine distribution. COVID-19 vaccines are essential to managing the pandemic and addressing these stark disparities, but only if people receive them in sufficient numbers and equitably. Both the State and New York City are now relying on CHCs to be part of the mass vaccination effort. In 2021, NYHealth awarded the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) a grant to support CHCs with their COVID-19 vaccination outreach in low-income areas and communities of color in New York State.
Under this grant, CHCANYS supported CHCs in their efforts to reach vaccine-hesitant people and those most likely to experience health disparities. CHCANYS provided outreach and messaging materials to target hard-to-reach populations, as well as gathered actionable data to identify which populations were lagging in vaccine uptake. It developed a dashboard with COVID-19 vaccine measures to track vaccines administered and completed by CHCs. CHCANYS also worked with government partners and other stakeholders to identify opportunities for data-sharing that supported the coordination of efforts. CHCANYS collaborated with CHCs and other partners to strengthen message development and ensure that CHCs had the resources and tailored materials that best met the needs of their patients, accounting for cultural competency, language preferences, and vaccine hesitancy. Monthly peer group meetings were also organized for CHCs to discuss progress and challenges and share information, including promising practices to improve full vaccination rates. CHCANYS reviewed the data collected throughout the project to identify CHCs that needed additional support.