The Community Equity Coalition (CEC) announced in late September that it is seeking vaccine ambassadors in Chaffee County who are interested in helping to provide accurate, unbiased information on the COVID-19 vaccine to groups that are traditionally under-served by the traditional health systems.
Studies from around the country and Colorado clearly demonstrate that for some communities a critical barrier to getting the vaccine is access to trusted sources of information. In addition, these communities often are less represented in health systems; ambassadors can provide a conduit for information exchange and allow residents to have a stronger voice in public health measures.
The CEC is a local organization that focuses on increasing equity in Chaffee County through advocacy, education, and community engagement. The project, which runs through the end of the year, aims to help fill gaps in information for those who have questions, concerns, or other barriers to access.
This project is funded by a grant from Caring for Colorado and Together We Protect, a consortium of funders focused on vaccine equity. The project will focus specifically on the Hispanic/Latinx, LGBTQIA, homeless, youth, and local, and frontline worker communities. A monthly stipend based on an approximate rate of $20/hr. for work completed is available; only a few hours per week are expected. The role goes from September through December 2021.
The CEC is currently recruiting potential Vaccine Ambassadors who would like to receive training and compensation for their time. Learn more here about the requirements and how to apply.
“I’m thrilled to be working on this project with the goal of increasing access to vaccines for all Chaffee County residents,” said Project Coordinator Julie Zavage. “Public health ambassadors have been shown to be a crucial element of decreasing health inequities in other localities across the country, through their role of providing information to public health departments about the needs, desires, and barriers present within their own communities. We hope that the vaccine ambassador program will lay some groundwork for a longer standing public health ambassador program in Chaffee County.”
Chaffee County still faces major challenges related to COVID-19. According to the CDC, community transmission in Chaffee County is high; 66 percent of county residents ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated. Since vaccination became available to all people 16 and older, almost all severe cases and deaths have been in those who have remained unvaccinated.
The CEC project is being conducted in partnership with Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH).
“We appreciate the work that the CEC is doing to decrease barriers to getting a vaccine for anyone who wants one,” said CCPH Director Andrea Carlstrom. “Vaccination is the most effective way to reduce the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 and of getting moderate to severe illness if it is contracted. We want this preventive measure to be as easy to access as possible for everyone.”
Click here for more information on the opportunity for vaccine ambassadors to participate and how to apply. For media or other inquiries, contact Julie Zavage at email@example.com.