NBT Receives $100,000 Grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for Continued Vaccination Efforts

New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT) is pleased to announce that we recently received a $100,000 grant.

This funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will help NBT continue to deepen our efforts to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations in New Brunswick and neighboring communities, with a focus on youth and marginalized groups.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first reached New Brunswick, NBT focused on ensuring New Brunswick residents had the information and resources to remain safe. While we have had aCOVID-19 informational campaign running on our Live Well- Vivir Bien health communication channels, we have also conducted community outreach as an integral part of our efforts. Our Community Health Ambassadors (CHAs) have been the primary drivers of our community outreach efforts. CHAs engage the community by serving as the cultural bridge between public health resources and residents. As the pandemic evolved, the CHAs and NBT staff distributed COVID care kits; including masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers to residents. Additionally, we have conducted door-to-door outreach to inform over 20,000 residents on available vaccine opportunities, assist in registering residents, provide follow-up calls for the appointments, and assist at the vaccine sites.

“We have made great strides to keep our community safe throughout the pandemic,” said Manuel Castañeda, NBT’s Director of Community Health. “But whereas early on during the pandemic, we were focused on containment through safety protocols, we have shifted our efforts to raise the vaccination rate.”

These efforts, which included a Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and FEMA-sponsored local vaccine sites, and pop-up clinics at St. Joseph’s Church and at other locations in New Brunswick, have contributed to record numbers of residents being vaccinated, increasing the rate of those vaccinated by 18% between late April 2021 and end of June 2021. The State currently recognizes New Brunswick to be approximately between 70-72% vaccinated.In the coming months, the goal of our continued outreach is to increase the percentage of those fully vaccinated in New Brunswick by 20% by December 31, 2021, and an additional 10% by April 2022.

With this funding, we plan to strengthen our community outreach efforts in New Brunswick to focus on our marginalized populations in the city. NBT plans to work with our health, community, and government partners to provide accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19 and vaccines, both virtually and through neighborhood canvassing, to dispel inaccurate information for informed decision-making. Our outreach will also focus on guiding residents through the process of getting their vaccinations. Additionally, we aim to encourage residents to continue following safety protocols as recommended by the CDC by providing PPE and promoting continual COVID-19 testing.

NBT would first like to thank New Jersey Health Initiatives for their continued support of NBT and, in particular, through this grant process.Thank you toRobert Wood Johnson Foundation for continuing to recognizing the need in New Brunswick and for being a committed partner in keeping our community safe and healthy, as we work together to move forward to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

September 30, 2021

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