New Brunswick Tomorrow Helps Address Low Vaccination Rates in New Brunswick
In May 2021, New Brunswick was reported to have one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in New Jersey for a city with a population over 50,000.
With one of the highest reported case rates for COVID-19 in Middlesex County at over 6,000 total cases, ensuring vaccines are equitably distributed to residents is vital for the health of the community, especially for our marginalized communities. New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT) led efforts to coordinate weekly meetings with New Brunswick COVID-19 vaccine providers to coordinate vaccine clinics. Thanks to the efforts of the NJ Department of Health, Middlesex County Office of Health Services, the City of New Brunswick, St. Peters University Hospital, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School - Eric B. Chandler Health Center, the Rutgers Global Health Institute, and other community partners the vaccination rate increased 10% in New Brunswick from May to June 2021, truly demonstrating the power of collective impact.
Not only is NBT helping ensure access to vaccines by coordinating vaccine clinics among providers, but we also coordinated health communication efforts to promote and educate on the COVID-19 vaccines. NBT launched a digital communication campaign on its Live Well – Vivir Bien New Brunswick social media platforms and website discussing the importance of vaccines, as well as clarifying any information that would cause hesitancy among residents. Our COVID-19 Vaccine Week video series saw record numbers of viewers on our Facebook page! Additionally, our Community Health Ambassadors (CHAs) did door-to-door outreach in the community to address vaccine hesitancy and assist residents with registration for local vaccine clinics such as the ones NBT co-sponsored at St. Joseph’s Church. Aside from the NBT-sponsored vaccine clinics, the CHAs and NBT staff worked at other local vaccine clinics including the mini mega site vaccine clinics that led to 668 New Brunswick residents being vaccinated in June.
While the upward trend in vaccination rates is promising, it is important to point out that although vaccinations are the primary focus as we move to leave the pandemic behind us, it is still important to continue to get tested for COVID-19, whether you are vaccinated or not. Vaccines can protect you from the COVID-19 virus, but even those that are vaccinated could still potentially catch and spread the virus.
This is why NBT is working with the NJ HEROES TOO project, a research study focused on increasing COVID-19 testing, particularly in Black and Latino communities, by providing the option to receive At-Home COVID-19 tests. If you are interested in participating, click here.
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Find out about the NJ HEROES TOO Project