Creates Greater Access for Underserved Communities
The U.S. has a long and troubled history of health disparities. COVID-19 has spotlighted how minority communities continue to struggle with health access and are at greater risk of infection and more serious complications from the virus.
Patients need vaccine access close to home, which is why Broward Health has partnered with several grassroots community partners, including local churches, to provide vaccinations for those living within underserved, high-risk communities in the northern part of Broward County.
Working in conjunction with local churches that assist with registration and transportation for their senior populations, at-risk patients who reside in a designated, underserved area can register to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
Samuel Ellis, of Fort Lauderdale, was one of the first to take advantage of the new vaccination pop-up site at Broward Health North. Ellis said he let his children know that he wanted the vaccine, and they helped him register. A few days later he arrived at Broward Health North.
“I came to Broward Health today to receive my first COVID-19 vaccination and it didn’t hurt at all,” Ellis said. “The process of making an appointment was easy.”
Broward Health has designated two time slots per day, Monday through Friday, expressly for anyone residing in identified underserved communities. Aldo Calvo, D.O., executive director of Broward Health’s Ambulatory Services, said that working in tandem with local churches and community organizations should help further educate the public about vaccine safety while increasing vaccine access.
“When it comes to the vaccine, safety is a top priority,” Dr. Calvo said. “The vaccines that have been currently approved under emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have proven to be 94 to 95% effective in preventing serious illness from COVID-19.”
Both Dr. Calvo and Ellis hope that more individuals will recognize the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness and move forward with their vaccinations.
“The resiliency of our community and our region has been put on display in the face of COVID-19, and again we have shown our strength in unity and our commitment to one another,” said Dr. Calvo. “As we move into a new phase of the pandemic, with a vaccine that is showing promise in helping us turn the corner against COVID-19, our strength and unity are more important than ever before and can best be demonstrated by receiving the vaccine.”
“I tell other folks they should come and get a shot,” said Ellis. “I want to stay healthy for my children and my grandchildren, so I plan on returning to Broward Health in a few weeks for my second shot. It was a very smooth process and I feel good.”