The Community Vaccine Collaborative (CVC) is an innovative community-academic partnership centered on mitigating the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Latinx communities, from increasing participation in vaccine trials to promoting vaccine uptake, and, more distally, improving trustworthiness of research and health care among minoritized communities. The CVC was co-developed with four community organizations in Allegheny County (Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, the Neighborhood Resilience Project, UrbanKind Institute and Casa San Jose) as well as researchers from Pitt to address disparities in vaccine acceptance and uptake among marginalized and minoritized communities.
Core to the CVC is connection to Community Health Deputies (CHDs), trained community health workers recruited by the Neighborhood Resilience Project to provide accurate information about COVID-19. Sustained involvement of minoritized communities is needed to ensure that research and health care delivery systems address equity and increase trustworthiness. Our longer-term vision is to use the approaches developed in this integrated program to sustain local community networks and facilitate vaccine uptake among individuals in southwestern Pennsylvania, increase their active participation in clinical trials, and support equitable vaccine delivery in community and clinic-based settings by nurturing trustworthiness of the vaccines themselves, health care and research.
The Community Vaccine Collaborative members are welcoming invitations to attend community meetings such as Public Safety meetings (by individual zones), neighborhood alliances, community town halls, and congregations, among others.
Each of these community meetings is attended by at least one scientist able to speak about COVID-19 and the vaccines, one health professional who identifies as BIPOC, and one community health deputy or CVC member.
This ‘Speakers’ Bureau’ allows for personal connections with experts, an opportunity to discuss questions in a safe, nonjudgmental setting, and encourage each participant to share information learned with others in their network.
The goal is to have these community meetings occurring regularly in the most overburdened and under-resourced neighborhoods which have been the hardest hit by the medical, social and economic consequences of this pandemic.
These offer opportunity for community leaders to work alongside health and research professionals to ensure expert voices (including those of community members) are equipped to speak knowledgeably, sensitively, creatively and authoritatively about the “how’s, what’s and why’s” of COVID-19 prevention with our fellow Pittsburgh neighbors. Here’s a link to request a presentation – https://tinyurl.com/1rxcwocs