On March 29, President Biden announced that the administration was taking further action to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines. One action included in this expansion is that, through a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL), ACL would provide nearly $100 million to help increase vaccinations among older adults and people with disabilities. ACL awarded $50 million to State Units on Aging to be distributed to Area Agencies on Aging. This project and its spending of funds extends through September 30, 2022.
Centralina’s focus is to provide accessibility, support and increase community partnerships to help close the vaccination gap between vulnerable and at-risk older adults. This project will include a partnership between Centralina Area Agency on Aging and Centralina Regional Planning to plan and initiate the following objectives:
- Disseminate credible information about COVID-19 vaccines in the community.
- Identify and work with trusted messengers to share information about vaccines with people in historically marginalized communities.
- Arrange and/or provide accessible transportation to vaccination sites for certain populations.
- Offer incentives to encourage increased vaccinations.
- Schedule webinars to reach greater audiences and engage with those in the community.
- Lead/plan community events to raise awareness of getting vaccinated.
- Identify and create strategies for serving different county needs.
One of the greatest challenges is instilling confidence in the vaccine. Many factors continue to create vaccination hesitancy, including cultural, social and political factors. The CDC recommends these six ways to help build COVID-19 vaccine confidence:
- Encourage leaders in your family, community or organizations to be vaccine champions.
- Have discussions with your friends and family about vaccination to understand their perspective and encourage their decision to vaccinate.
- Share key messages that promote action through multiple trusted channels.
- Help educate people about COVID-19 vaccines, including how they were developed, their intense safety monitoring and how you can talk to others about the vaccines.
- Learn more about finding credible vaccine information. When you come across COVID-19 information, cross-check with CDC.gov and learn how to respond to misinformation you encounter.
- Make your decision to get vaccinated visible and celebrate it!
It is imperative that community leaders continue to build trust, deliver promises and collaborate with health professionals to help influence and/or recommend individuals find a spot and take the shot. Linda Miller, Centralina Area Agency on Aging says, “This is an excellent opportunity for our Area Agency on Aging and Planning Department to work together to identify ways to increase vaccine awareness and decrease vaccination hesitancy in our region.” For more information contact Jessica Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-348-2736.