Macedonia FACE has been in regular conversation with the Neighborhood Resilience Project, the Hill District Community Engagement Center of the University of Pittsburgh, Primary Health Care, and other Hill District based partners to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the African American community and the resulting vaccination roll out process. The group acknowledges that the Hill District and other Black communities are struggling with high COVID-19 rates. Consequently, creating avenues for access to the vaccine will be important for helping to mitigate the disproportionate impact of the virus for people of color and preventing widening racial health disparities going forward.
As a result when Macedonia FACE staff learned of an opportunity to participate in a community led initiative that would allow residents of the Hill District ages 65 years or older to obtain a vaccination on February 5 and 6, Macedonia FACE was eager to partner with other community based organizations to make this happen. One thousand doses were to be made available by the Allegheny County Health Department. Given the need to act quickly, Macedonia FACE and the Neighborhood Resilience Project strategized and created a plan to best support the Hill District community. Creating a process for contacting senior citizens, scheduling appointments and developing a transportation plan in less than two days required the utilization of all available resources. The entire staff of Macedonia FACE was reassigned to support the effort in partnership with local universities, the United Way, Primary Health and the Neighborhood Resilience Project. All partners fielded hundreds of calls as they collectively labored to register the 1,000 community members for the vaccine. The work of community based agencies like the Neighborhood Resilience Project and Macedonia FACE demonstrate the strength of collaboration needed to achieve health equity.