The Raritan Bay Area YMCA (RBAYMCA) is leading this project, in which up to 300 vulnerable residents in Perth Amboy will take the COVID-19 vaccine at a local pharmacy partner. The RBAYMCA and its community partners will provide a number of supports to make the vaccines more readily accessible to residents who are housing insecure or experiencing homelessness. Together with its network of community partners, the RBAYMCA is deploying bilingual community health ambassadors to provide information about the vaccine to residents. In addition, the RBAYMCA is registering interested individuals, scheduling round-trip transportation to vaccination appointments as needed, and distributing after-care kits to aid a comfortable recovery from post-vaccination symptoms. Through the RBAYMCA’s commitment to collaboration and partnership, this program could create a model for providing equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
RBAYMCA and its partners are among the nonprofits and service providers that have come together as the Moving New Jersey Forward Learning Collaborative to share accomplishments and lessons learned from this work with each other, with New Jersey Health Initiatives and the state, to benefit every community. Ensuring more equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine originally connected these thought leaders as the New Jersey Vaccination Learning Network for over a year. In March 2022, the network renamed itself the Moving NJ Forward Learning Collaborative to better represent the partners’ systems-level thinking and commitment to applying the lessons from the past two years to unlock the doors to opportunity that marginalized communities face. Learn more about the collaborative’s expanded focus.
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On July 14, 2021, the Raritan Bay Area YMCA served as the site for a community food distribution event where Perth Amboy residents could get health information and learn about the COVID-19 vaccine and, if interested, take the vaccine. Personnel from the Visiting Nurse Association served as vaccinators for the event.