The staff are learning, too, that vaccines are more than just getting a shot in the arm. Reducing vaccine hesitancy is another task, involving communications via TFH’s EMR system (email and text blasts that go out to patients informing them of vaccine eligibility and how to get one) and presentations tailored to different vulnerable populations—from families living with homelessness to school groups and senior citizens—to help quell fears and suspicions of the Covid-19 treatment.
“Our education program was important in combatting any bit of reticence that’s based on everything from various incendiary historical issues to younger people who think, ‘I’m healthy; I’ll be okay, so why should I get vaccinated?’ We’ve worked to make sure everyone understands the short and long-term risks [of not getting vaccinated] to themselves, to family, friends and others,” Dr. Andre explained.
Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork
There was help, though, in the form of partnerships, like a team-up with Catholic Charities to vaccinate adults living in elder housing and remove the barriers of mobility by transporting staff to senior centers in Queens or seniors to the Long Island City clinic.,
And recently, there was the big win: A $4.3 million piece of the federal American Rescue Plan bestowed upon The Floating Hospital due to the advocacy of Congressperson Carolyn Maloney and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards—a vital shot in the arm to keep the clinic’s Covid-19 vaccination program running strong for as long as it needs to.
“That money really helps us focus on a comprehensive Covid program—treatment, testing, prevention, education, creating different options for more user-friendly out-patient care, in addition to vaccinations,” says Dr. Andre, adding that the funding will support dedicated staff members who can perform inoculations and become experts, as well as improving clinic infrastructure.
“This funding will help us with enhancements so when people come in, there are safe spaces and all the things needed to keep patients and staff safe.”
— Amy Zavatto