Across Michigan, many communities are still vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks – even as vaccines start to become more widely available. That’s partly due to a lack of access to health care. We know that when access to health care is a barrier in a neighborhood, people that live there likely have higher than average rates of conditions like heart disease, asthma and diabetes – all things that put them at a high risk of severe COVID-19 illness. Additionally, finding a vaccine – or even finding information about where to get a vaccine – may be difficult in areas that are deemed the most socially vulnerable by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A recent COVID vaccine clinic at Yad Ezra in Berkley, MI. Local organizations across Michigan are working to bridge that gap in access to COVID vaccines, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is supporting efforts by helping to fund vaccination events and decrease barriers to getting to them while also raising awareness. To date, ground-based outreach in communities including Benton Harbor, Dearborn, Ypsilanti, Warren and Detroit has resulted in 13 vaccination clinics supported by Blue Cross in partnerships with organizations including Meijer, ACCESS, Samaritan Center, Yad Ezra and Wayne Health. More clinics are being planned. “Protecting communities against COVID-19 is critically important. We are helping people gain access to COVID vaccines that will save the lives of their families, friends and neighbors,” said Suzanne Miller Allen, Senior Director, Community Responsibility and Social Mission for Blue Cross. Guided in part by the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index, Blue Cross has been reaching out to partner organizations in ZIP codes where individuals are both at a high risk for severe COVID illness and have significant barriers to health care and vaccine access. As the vaccination effort moves forward in Michigan, Blue Cross is also monitoring vaccination rates by race, ethnicity and geography to ensure its support efforts are targeted to where they are needed most. “We are continuously looking for ways to support our community partners in their efforts to get people vaccinated,” Miller Allen said. More from MIBluesPerspectives.com:
- MDHHS: Spread Hope, Not COVID-19
- Muslim Health Leaders Urge COVID-19 Vaccinations, Even During Ramadan
- Daughter Hopes to Reconnect with Aging Parents Post-Vaccine
Photo credits: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan