Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Council of Negro Women remained hard at work to increase vaccine education, awareness, and access.
National Project Manager, NCNW Good Health WINs
We are addressing the need to educate about the importance of vaccines as preventable measures to improve health and the quality of life.
As COVID-19 ravaged the United States and disproportionately affected communities of color, nonprofit organizations such as the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) was poised and positioned for pandemic response. NCNW’s 87-year history and coalition infrastructure of trusted messengers includes states, national affiliate women’s organizations, and the National Panhellenic Council with a combined reach of 4.5 million. Together, we partnered with community-based organizations (CBOs) to increase vaccine education, vaccine access, and help build vaccine confidence.
Partnering with the community
Relationships matter. Trusted messengers are the reliable infrastructure necessary to build vaccine confidence. We had to activate, educate, and motivate in record speed by partnering with hospitals, pharmacies, and corporations — anyone willing to give us a seat at the table as we designed effective community responses.
We partnered with Uber to provide thousands of rides to vaccination clinics, addressed social determinants of health to distribute water and vaccine information in the Midwest, converted a mammogram bus to distribute vaccines to rural areas of the South, and hosted national town hall meetings on childhood vaccines and pregnancy in the West.
A dedication to education
We continued to encourage family, friends, and community members to attend “COVID Conversation” webinars, national town hall meetings, bi-monthly “community of practice” sessions, “Brunch & Learn on Social Determinants of Health” sessions, and vaccine clinics. Our commitment to education provided the space for attendees to make informed decisions about vaccines.
Most importantly, we moved from a community engagement mindset to a true community union. Our community union included hard and truthful conversations to address vaccine hesitancy with family and friends, shared resources, joint decision-making, and a commitment to stay connected, no matter the public health crisis.
We are addressing the need to educate about the importance of vaccines as preventable measures to improve health and the quality of life. NCNW’s Good Health WINs and other CBOs provide the infrastructure, partnerships, and relationships to build vaccine confidence and save lives.