Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Bronx Health REACH Test & Trace Team (T2) Continue with COVID-19 Outreach


T2 team members Cheikhou Ann and Felix Rojas (far right above) and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. at a COVID-19 outreach event in the Bronx. 

Bronx Health REACH's Test & Trace (T2) team has been distributing signage and information about where people can go to get a COVID-19 test and/or COVID-19 vaccination. The Bronx Health REACH T2 team has distributed over 96,000 masks and hundreds of posters and palm cards to over 400 Bronx churches, mosques, schools,  bodegas, barber shops, supermarkets, nail salons and other Bronx businesses. COVID-19 webinars have been held with schools and community organizations.

To date, the Bronx Health REACH T2 team has assisted in getting over 5,000 vaccinations administered through community vaccine events in the Bronx. There were events held at the Institute for Family Health's Stevenson Family Health Center, the Dominican Food Festival, Darou Salam Islamic center, University Spanish Seventh Day Adventist and Fatima African Braiding Salon to name a few. These amazing efforts have been accomplished through the T2 outreach team consisting of Cheikhou Ann, Joseph Ellis and Felix Rojas and the recent team additions Barbara Toledano and Abigail Baah. 

This success has happened in the face of the challenges of misinformation and disinformation as shared here by one of our outreach team members. "We were doing an outreach event in Castle Hill. There was a mobile vaccination bus and the Mayor was there as well," says Cheikhou Oumar Ann, T2 team member.  "As I was doing outreach two women came up to me and asked, 'Why are you bringing this (the COVID-19 vaccination) here? They pulled the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and now you are bringing it to our neighborhood to kill the Black people.'

As a trusted messenger within the Latino community, community outreach worker and T2 team member Felix Rojas provides support for those he has scheduled for COVID-19 vaccinations. "I have a responsibility to those I refer to vaccination sites, so I provide my phone number, and after someone gets their vaccine I make sure they are okay."

Even though there can be some challenges, many organizations and community members appreciate the work our T2 team has done. Here was an email T2 team member Joseph Ellis received from a Bronx Day care after delivering palm cards and masks: "This is a friendly thank you for the supplies you have provided us today. We thought it was a very kind gesture that will help the community a lot, especially now in pandemic time."

Focus groups and street surveys have been held to identify concerns community members may have in getting the COVID-10 vaccine. A Vaccine Community Advisory Board created in May, has been providing strategic guidance and direction on outreach to the unvaccinated. Training and support for ten community partners to increase our community outreach and engagement is underway.


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