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Español: El Departamento de Salud del Condado de Washtenaw lanza proyecto piloto de alcance comunitario
Washtenaw County Health Department applied for and was awarded 2500 additional doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Community Outreach COVID-19 Pilot Project. With local partners and leaders, Washtenaw County Health Department is hosting multiple pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites in areas of the county with high Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). These doses are in addition to the Health Department’s normal weekly vaccine allocations and will be given this week and next.
Vaccination pop-up events will be open to individuals 50 years and older with medical conditions or disabilities living in high-priority areas of the county. For those events scheduled after March 22, eligibility will be open to everyone 50 years and older in the prioritized areas.
Events will be offered in church and community settings organized with African American and Latinx community leaders and partner organizations with the goal reaching these community members as directly as possible and increasing vaccination rates. The identified census tracts for the pilot project include parts of the east side of the county as well as parts of Pittsfield Township and Ann Arbor in 48197, 48198, 48108, and 48105.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but some areas and communities within Washtenaw County have been more severely impacted,” says Jimena Loveluck, MSW, health officer with Washtenaw County Health Department. “We are committed to ensuring equitable vaccine access to our African American and Latinx community members and are grateful to have the vaccine to offer additional community-based pop-up clinics.”
In Washtenaw County, 31% of confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been concentrated in the 48197 and 48198 zip codes on the eastern side of the county. While African Americans represent 12% of the county’s population, they represent 27% of COVID-19 related hospitalizations and 22% of deaths. Similarly, Latinx and/or Hispanic community members comprise 5% of the local population but 6% of local cases.
The Health Department is using multiple strategies to distribute vaccine, including mass vaccination clinics, community pop-up or mobile vaccination efforts, and Nurse on the Run teams that can reach eligible homebound individuals or smaller group settings. Through the pilot project, expanded pop-up events will take place in church and community settings to better reach eligible, vulnerable community members with the support and collaboration of local health care providers, community leaders, and community members.
Pilot project clinics and community distribution include but may not be limited to:
All vaccination events require registration to ensure adequate doses and avoid crowding. For each site, community leaders, volunteers, and staff can provide direct registration. Eligible individuals may also call 734-544-6700 and select the pop-up community clinic option or email [email protected].
These pop-up sites are designed to remove barriers to vaccines for local communities of color. The sites will address transportation barriers by embedding vaccination efforts in neighborhood settings easily accessible to residents. Information and materials will be available in multiple languages, as well as through phone lines and community members. Trusted faith and community leaders, as well as healthcare providers known to community members, will help promote the pop-ups and schedule appointments, addressing barriers related to a lack of Internet access or difficulty with technology.
The Health Department is hosting these pop-ups in partnership with Michigan Medicine, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and community partners, including the Washtenaw County Racial Equity Office, local churches, community leaders, and Packard Health. Michigan Medicine and St. Joe’s Ann Arbor are also providing medical and non-medical staffing.
“Michigan Medicine is eager to partner and make pop-up clinics possible, as every shot counts as we fight COVID-19 together,” said Dana Habers, who co-leads the Michigan Medicine COVID-19 Vaccine and Therapeutics Task Force. “We are deeply committed to ensuring equitable access to vaccines, this is tremendously important for our entire community, and we are happy to be a part of this effort.”
“We are happy to be able to support this effort to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations with our community partners,” said Alonzo Lewis, president, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. “It is our hope that through efforts like these, in addition to other work St. Joe's is employing in the community to improve equitable distribution of vaccines, we can remove barriers and continue on the path towards ending this pandemic."
Washtenaw County COVID-19 Vaccine Information
The Health Department is currently vaccinating those who are eligible for vaccination under state priority guidance and who live or work in Washtenaw County.
Those who are currently eligible can request a vaccination from the Health Department by completing the request survey at http://bit.ly/wchdvaxindi or by calling 734-544-6700 or 211. Please only use the phone line if you are unable to navigate the online request. Limited vaccine appointments may also be available through local health providers or pharmacies including Meijer and Rite Aid, and soon Kroger. Although improving, supplies are still limited everywhere, and it may take several weeks to schedule everyone eligible.