Cityblock Health, a healthcare provider serving lower-income communities across New York in partnership with EmblemHealth, announced today the opening of a new, permanent COVID-19 vaccination site in collaboration with New York City and the Brooksville Company at Spring Creek Towers, an affordable housing development in the 11239 ZIP code in Starrett City, Brooklyn, New York.
The site will bring the Pfizer vaccine to a neighborhood significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic — and Cityblock hopes the efforts will increase equity of vaccine distribution.
“Opening a large-scale, permanent vaccination site here, one year after the city shut down, is work we’re proud to do,” said Charisse Hunter, RN, MHA, Head of COVID-19 response at Cityblock. “We’re grateful to the City and Brooksville for their investment in this community’s health and safety.”
The new vaccine site located at 1310 Pennsylvania Avenue will offer more than 1,000 appointments per week and will be open seven days a week, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, continuing to expand the existing five-borough network of more than 450 vaccine access points open to the eligible public. Additional days and appointments will be available as supply increases citywide. Eligible New Yorkers can make an appointment at nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC.
Half of all the doses at the vaccination site will be reserved for eligible residents of Spring Creek Towers and eligible Cityblock members. Both Cityblock and Spring Creek Towers are running robust and proactive engagement programs, conducting outreach to residents and members who might be eligible for the vaccine under New York State guidelines via email, phone, SMS, and out-of-home media. Cityblock and Spring Creek Towers have set up phone hotlines and an in-person scheduling unit to make the process as easy as possible for residents.
While the site organizers know the importance of bringing vaccine distribution sites directly into underserved communities, they also understand that the site alone won’t ensure high vaccination rates. Cityblock has been working to increase access to information in the community and with members across the city. Last month, they hosted a community education event at Spring Creek Towers with their mobile clinic, Community Health Partners, and providers. The Cityblock team met with residents and answered questions on everything from how vaccines work to the emergency FDA approval process and the risks and benefits of getting the vaccine.
“The deep historical mistrust that some communities have had in the healthcare system has intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ari Rosner, LCSW, Head of Social Care for Cityblock. “Our team’s main goal is to build trust with the individuals we’re working with and their communities more broadly. Once we’ve established that, we’re able to show up in a non-judgmental way to make sure they have the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves.”
The Spring Creek Tower vaccination site received 1,170 vaccine doses for the first week, and supply will scale over the next several weeks.