Wright Center deploying ‘Community Vaccine Ambassadors’ to combat COVID-19
The Wright Center for Community Health has been selected as one of 15 health centers across the nation to participate in a grant-funded Community Vaccine Ambassador Project, aimed at increasing COVID-19 immunizations among groups that historically have been marginalized.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will fund the initiative, which involves health centers in 12 states. The project is being conducted in partnership with the National Health Care for the Homeless Council and the National Association of Community Health Centers.
The Wright Center will receive $200,000 in grant funding to focus on administering vaccines to individuals with substance use disorders and individuals who experience homelessness. These populations have been identified as being at increased risk for COVID-19 infection because, among other reasons, they “experience barriers to accessing health care and might have low levels of trust in the medical system due to previous experiences of trauma or stigma,” according to the project’s organizers.
The Wright Center’s community health workers and certified recovery specialists will serve as project “ambassadors,” providing vaccination education and information over the year-long project to people in the organization’s five-county service area in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Since December 2020, when the new COVID-19 vaccines first became available, The Wright Center has administered more than 40,500 vaccine doses. The federal Health Resources and Services Administration earlier this year presented a 2021 Community Health Quality Recognition award to The Wright Center, recognizing the nonprofit organization’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts in response to the public health crisis.
The Wright Center, which serves as one of about 50 Pennsylvania-designated Opioid Use Disorder Centers of Excellence, has significant experience in treating and supporting individuals who are coping with substance use disorder. It has assisted individuals living in recovery who have been involved in the criminal justice system, and it co-founded the region’s Healthy Maternal Opiate Medical Support (MOMS) program, which assists pregnant and new mothers who have a substance use disorder.
For more information about The Wright Center for Community Health, call 570.343.2383 or go to TheWrightCenter.org.