Denver Health Selected as a “Together We Protect” Partner to Promote Youth Vaccine Equity
August 11, 2021
Denver Health School-Based Health Centers (DSBHCs), in collaboration with Denver Public Schools, will host COVID-19 vaccine clinics for eligible youth and their families, thanks to a $50,000 grant provided by Caring for Colorado through its “Together We Protect” funding stream.
The clinics will be hosted at various schools in neighborhoods with low vaccination rates among residents 12-17 and will seek to vaccinate over 1,800 community members. This project also provides an opportunity for Denver Health teams to facilitate a youth-led outreach and education campaign in each community – an important strategy as vaccination teams have learned that community members respond positively to being vaccinated when they are served by someone who looks like them, speaks their language, and comes from the same community.
Already, the DSBHCs have contributed to vaccination efforts across Denver for youth and their families. Yet significant disparities still exist among youth ages 12-17 years old. Only 13.1% of Black, non-Hispanic youth and 18.7% of Hispanic or Latino youth have completed COVID-19 vaccinations, compared to 65.4% of their White, non-Hispanic counterparts. Disparities also exist among neighborhoods. For example, according to data from Denver Public Health, in the Central Park neighborhood, over 85% of youth ages 12-17 have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine. However, in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch, fewer than 50% of youth ages 12-17 have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine.
Based on positive feedback from our other vaccination clinics, Denver Health believes that this grant-funded project can make a substantial difference for youth in underserved neighborhoods. Many employees that staff these clinics are bilingual and are often members of the communities served, which allows for increased comfort and trust with patients. Denver Health has learned from feedback from staff at these clinics and the Denver Health Mobile Health clinic that some of our patients are not necessarily resistant to vaccines, but do want information from people like them, and they want vaccines provided in convenient locations from organizations they trust.
Beyond funding the vaccination events, the Caring for Colorado Foundation is also providing a forum for funded organizations to connect with other grant awardees to share information, coordinate communications and outreach strategies, and learn from each other’s work. This collaboration is important to ensuring that all community health organizations are working together to improve vaccination understanding and uptake throughout our entire city.