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Cuomo: Allocation of $15 million to promote vaccination in communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 pandemic


Mon, Jul 26th 2021 12:45 pm

$5.5 million awarded to Hispanic Federation, $5.5M to Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, $1M New York Immigration Coalition, $1M to Asian American Federation, $1M to Charles B. Wang Community Center, $1M to APICHA Community Health Center

√ Funds to strengthen communication, expand public education and enhance ongoing outreach efforts

New ad urges New Yorkers across state to get vaccinated

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced the allocation of $15 million from the New York budget to promote vaccination in communities across the state that were hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. His team said, “The funds will be used to strengthen communication, expand public education and enhance ongoing outreach efforts throughout diverse communities.”

The governor also announced a new ad urging New Yorkers across the state to get vaccinated.

"COVID-19 exposed longstanding inequities in our society, and we've seen evidence of that in both the positivity rate and the vaccination rate in communities that were hardest hit by the virus," Cuomo said. "New York is pulling out all the stops to get shots in arms, and this budget funding will help us target outreach efforts in the state's most vulnerable communities to make sure that everyone is able to get vaccinated. We've made incredible progress in the fight against COVID-19, but there's more work to do, and this will help us protect communities across the state."

Funding will be allocated to the following organizations. Some groups will use the funding to subcontract with organizations serving targeted communities.

•Hispanic Federation: $5.5 million for COVID-19 vaccine education and awareness, case management and the establishment of community vaccination and education sites. This will include broad marketing efforts, door knocking in buildings with high populations of elderly residents, translators for outreach materials, the identification of barriers that may limit access to the vaccine for people of color, social media, and the leveraging of a network of more than 65 trusted Latino community-based organizations across the state. The federation will leverage its staff and community-based nonprofits to deploy a network of bilingual/bicultural case managers and social workers to provide prescreening and answer questions, among other efforts. It will also train, deploy and empower its existing network of community-based organizations to serve as one-stop hubs around COVID-19 community education, and whenever possible to serve as vaccination sites in collaboration with state and health authorities.

•Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies: $5.5 million for grassroots community and statewide direct outreach and public education on COVID-19 vaccination. FPWA will conduct statewide train-the-trainer town halls and make grants to 40 to 60 New York City-based community-based organizations, houses of worship, social organizations and human service agencies in areas with greatest need to support COVID-19 vaccine outreach, education and access assistance. The organization will also conduct direct outreach to Black communities, including live phone calls and text messaging. Finally, it will launch a paid targeted media campaign, including online ads and organizing efforts.

•New York Immigration Coalition: $1 million to provide accurate, technical and tailored COVID-19 and vaccine information directly to communities and through member organizations. NYIC will develop community-facing resources that address the most recent qualification standards, public health information, and access points for the vaccine. The organization will also coordinate local resources such as COVID-19 and flu vaccine providers or pharmacies, food pantries and health care services to create accessible and trusted referral programs to share with community members across the state. It will also conduct regional community education events across the state and webinars on COVID-19-specific content.

•Asian American Federation, Charles B. Wang Community Center, APICHA Community Health Center: $1 million each to partner with Asian-serving community-based and civic organizations in New York with outreach to hardest-to-reach members of the community, including homebound seniors, undocumented immigrants, limited-English-proficient families. The organizations will coordinate training and outreach materials, particularly coordinating the translation of materials; coordinate with the state and partners regarding vaccine scheduling; and help organizations with their outreach strategies.

Hispanic Federation President and CEO Frankie Miranda said, "The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated longstanding inequities in our society – especially within communities of color throughout New York state. Hispanic Federation has been on the frontlines since day one of the health crisis to serve our community and ensure access to critical services and information. As we continue to see people of color trailing behind in terms of vaccination rates, we are taking immediate action to ensure equitable access to vaccines for all of New York's communities. I thank Gov. Cuomo for his leadership in creating this essential initiative – these $15 million are incredibly vital to clearing roadblocks for New Yorkers through vaccine education and outreach and serving areas with the highest need."

Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies CEO and Executive Director Jennifer Jones Austin said, "This new funding for community-based organizations throughout New York, championed by Gov. Cuomo, is focused on expanding our efforts to make sure everyone is knowledgeable about the vaccine and has easy access to it because research shows that the great majority of those who are dying from COVID-19 today are unvaccinated. Local organizations with deep connections in the communities hit hardest by the pandemic, namely communities of color and those with low incomes, will have the financial support they need to provide accurate information about the vaccine so people can make good decisions for themselves about their health. Not only will this effort restore health and safety to all New Yorkers, but it is also critical to ensuring a strong and inclusive recovery for our state."

New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Murad Awawdeh said, "Vaccination is the final, critical effort we need to make to defeat COVID-19 for good, but not all communities are taking the shot at the same rates. Gov. Cuomo's announcement of $15 million to improve education and awareness of the benefits of vaccination is a vital effort we need to spread the word. This funding will help community-based organizations with local networks reach New Yorkers who haven't yet taken the vaccine and bring them into the fold. I thank the governor for his efforts on behalf of underserved communities and look forward to seeing a healthier, safer New York as a result of these new efforts."

Asian American Federation Executive Director Jo-Ann Yoo said, "This new funding for community-based organizations in New York, championed by Gov. Cuomo, will improve our ability to get the word out about the benefits of vaccination in some of the state's most vulnerable communities. We've made huge progress vaccinating New Yorkers against COVID-19, but many of the outlying groups are precisely those who were hit hardest by the virus in the first place. I am glad to see this funding disbursed to important organizations and look forward to seeing them drive vaccination rates up by coordinating neighborhood resources to reach and educate New Yorkers in our state."

APICHA Community Health Center CEO Therese R. Rodriguez said, "Each of these organizations is uniquely suited to reach communities that have been hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This $15 million will provide vital resources toward reducing health disparities across the state. Gov. Cuomo saw from day one that there would be disparities in the vaccination rates of different New York communities. That foresight allows us to address these issues head-on. I am humbled and honored to partner with New York state to educate all New Yorkers about the benefits of vaccination. We laud for governor's vision and acknowledgement of the reach and impact of community-based organizations and community health centers. Providing sustained resources to organizations that historically deliver services to culturally diverse, hard-to-reach communities strengthens New York state's vaccination campaign."

Charles B. Wang Community Center CEO Kaushal Challa said, "As more and more New Yorkers get vaccinated for COVID-19, it's becoming increasingly clear that some communities that were hardest-hit by the virus are also getting vaccinated at low rates. The $15 million in this announcement will help crucial organizations with deep roots in the community reach New Yorkers who still haven't gotten their shots and bring them to safety. Gov. Cuomo has led the way making sure underserved communities get access to the vaccine by establishing pop-up sites across the state, and the allocation of this funding is a logical next step forward in this ongoing effort."

This funding is part of New York state's ongoing efforts to promote the COVID-19 vaccine, with a particular focus on communities with low vaccination rates and communities hardest hit by the virus. On June 18, the governor announced  nine new pop-up vaccination sites opened at or near early voting locations, focusing on areas where ZIP code data shows the vaccination rate is lower than the statewide average. These sites were made possible through partnerships with local governments and medical partners and aimed to make the vaccine convenient and accessible in those areas most in need. On June 17, Cuomo announced  12 new pop-up vaccination sites opened in areas where ZIP code data shows the vaccination rate is significantly lower than the statewide average.

This funding and work with community groups arose from recommendations made by the New York Vaccine Equity Task Force. Cuomo’s team said he “has made the fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine a top priority from the very beginning of this process. In late 2020, the governor announced the launch of the task force, chaired by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President and CEO Pat Wang. Since its establishment, the task force has continued work to ensure vulnerable and underserved communities are not left behind by breaking down the barriers to vaccination and ensuring there is equitable distribution of the vaccine across the state.”

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