Vulnerable Populations Emphasized in Outreach Efforts
WESTFIELD, NJ – MARCH 30, 2021 – The Town of Westfield has partnered with several community organizations in an effort to help ensure COVID-19 vaccine equity for underserved populations.
On Saturday, March 27, the Westfield Neighborhood Council and the New Jersey Black Women Physicians Association (NJBWPA) held two drive-through vaccine registration events, with the purpose of assisting those who are in need of vaccination appointments. With support from members of the Town Council, the Westfield Community Center, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Westfield, Lifelong Westfield, the Westfield Police Department, and numerous other volunteers, this collective effort resulted in 350 successful vaccination registrations for vulnerable community members in need of securing appointments.
“NJBWPA partners with communities or neighborhoods in order to educate and improve the racial disparity that exists regarding vaccine access while carrying the burden of the disease and deaths,” said Westfield resident and NJBWPA Vice President Pamela Brug. “This partnership was a town-wide effort of various organizations including non-profit, religious, Town officials and departments, along with numerous volunteers, all with a goal of reaching the most vulnerable populations in town -- whether elderly or not -- with the tools to register for the vaccine.”
In addition, this group was able to assist in identifying eligible individuals for a pop-up vaccination clinic held on Friday, March 26 at Town Hall, where 200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were provided by Union County for those most in need.
The Westfield Regional Health Department now has a Vulnerable Populations Outreach Committee, led by Ellen Shelley, which has been tasked with leveraging community partnerships to reach underserved populations as the vaccination process accelerates.
“I am incredibly proud of the efforts of this group to ensure that vaccination equity is a reality in Westfield,” said Mayor Shelley Brindle. “The dedication demonstrated by this team in reaching out to our most vulnerable residents is a true reflection of how our community continues to help one another during the pandemic. I am very grateful to all those who volunteered, and to the Union County Board of Commissioners for providing doses of the vaccine specifically intended for these purposes.”
“The work being done on the Vulnerable Populations Outreach Committee will ensure that our community members who are most at risk are able to secure COVID-19 information, testing and vaccination,” said Megan Avallone, Director, Westfield Regional Health Department.
The outreach continues on April 1 at 11:00AM, with a community discussion entitled “COVID Vaccines: Fact or Fiction?” to address questions about the vaccines. Panelists will include:
• Lawrence D. Budnick, MD, MPH; President, Westfield Board of Health
• Megan Avallone, RN, MS; Director, Westfield Regional Health Department
• Ellen Shelley, DNP, MSN, NE-BC, CPHQ, CCM; Vulnerable Populations Outreach Coordinator
• Dr. Pamela Brug, Vice President, New Jersey Black Women Physicians Association
The discussion will take place via Zoom. For those unable to access Zoom, limited in-person viewing space will be available at the Westfield Community Center, the Westfield Neighborhood Council, and Westfield Recreation Department Community Room. Masks and social distancing will be required. To obtain the Zoom link, or to reserve an in-person space, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 908-301-1287.
Finally, seniors who have not been able to secure a vaccination appointment can contact Gen2Gen, a group of Westfield High School volunteers who have been working tirelessly to assist with making appointments online. By filling out the registration form at http://bit.ly/Gen2Gen-vaccines, seniors can be notified of appointments that meet their needs as availability permits. Any residents that are homebound can call the Health Department at 908-789-4070 to receive more information about the homebound COVID-19 vaccination program.
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