Mayor Eric Adams’ health team is launching a $4 million “vaccine equity” campaign aimed at curbing infections and deaths from the latest strains of coronavirus and flu, predominantly in the city’s poorest communities.
The Health Department funds will provide grants to 18 nonprofit groups to expand vaccine coverage in two dozen mostly minority neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates.
“Funds will also be used to raise awareness of long COVID and the impact it can have on people’s health and wellbeing,” says the tender proposal submitted by the department’s fundraising arm – the Health Fund. Public.
Communities targeted by the Adams administration’s multimillion-dollar advocacy campaign to foster vaccine resilience and equity include:
The New York City Public Health Corps (PHC) and Health+Hospitals are also involved in the effort to keep infection rates low after the pandemic.
“Research has shown that reducing barriers to vaccination in communities of color is critical to reducing disparities in disease impact and decreasing COVID-19-related illnesses,” the bidders’ request for proposals says.
“COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer protection to millions of vaccinated New Yorkers; However, lower vaccination rates among certain groups leave them at greater risk of adverse health outcomes (i.e. Long Covid), particularly as new variants emerge.
“The New York City Department of Health remains committed to fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.”
The city seeks to close the “vaccine inequity gap” in neighborhoods designated by the Mayor’s Task Force on Racial Inclusion as hardest hit by COVID-19 and a large proportion of other health disparities. The task force began under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was at the helm during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, and continues under Adams.
In August, 81% of residents citywide completed a primary COVID-19 vaccination series compared to 78% of residents in targeted ZIP codes.
The Department of Health is expected to award contracts by Jan. 3, 2024. Select community and faith-based organizations would conduct vaccine outreach through June, with the possibility of an extension.
Additional points on contract review will be awarded to bidders that are minority-led organizations.
The Department of Health will provide contractors with training and guidance on the prevention and management of chronic diseases to eradicate the causes of health inequities.
Contractors must submit a data management plan and provide monthly updates to the department on community outreach and engagement strategies and meet benchmarks to receive full funding/reimbursement, according to the plan.
Last year, health officials also focused on increasing vaccination rates in the heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods of Brooklyn, as well as the majority white neighborhoods of Staten Island that had lower vaccination rates and fewer testing sites when the Omicron wave of COVID-19 broke out in the city in late 2021, including Borough Park, Midwood, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Williamsburg and Crown Heights.
More than 81,000 deaths in New York state have been linked to COVID-19.