1/ Bring the vaccine to people. Don’t wait for people to come to the vaccine. To increase COVID-19 vaccination rates especially amongst marginalized communities that’s what we have to do. But how?
2/ Here are 3 lessons I learned while volunteering recently to vaccinate people in an immigrant community in my state’s poorest city, an area that was our COVID-19 epicenter.
3/ Lesson 1: bring vaccination sites closer to home. A local organization organized our vaccination site. They got creative — repurposing their community center where educational and cultural activities had been held to host vaccinators and vaccines.
4/ They brought vaccines out of clinics and into their local community center — a place people already trusted, closer to their homes.
5/ Lesson 2: vaccinators + outreach workers = dream team. The local organization partnered with clinics and hospitals to recruit seven of us doctors and nurses as volunteer vaccinators. But outreach workers were the real heroes.
6/ In the days leading up to vaccination day, teams of residents — outreach workers — had walked the neighborhood to knock on their neighbors’ doors. They educated their neighbors about why, when and where they should get vaccinated. They scheduled their appointments.
7/ Outreach worked. In an area where vaccination rates had started to slow, door-to-door vaccine canvassing led to hundreds of people showing up on a Sunday to get their shots.
8/ Lesson 3: vaccines may not be enough. Prior to the pandemic nearly all my patients were essential workers — cooks, construction workers, taxi drivers. During the pandemic most had lost their jobs. Many were struggling to put food on the table.
9/ That’s why along with masks, the outreach workers who visited them brought food aid and through the community organization helped them with job applications. In poor communities helping people get vaccinated may start with helping people feed their families.
10/ I learned it is possible to reach the marginalized. It is possible to further increase vaccination rates. it is possible to bring the vaccine to people. States like mine are now investing in these solutions by giving grants to community-based organizations to do just that.

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More from @rajpanjabi

19 Apr
Last summer I came home after testing patients in a COVID clinic where I was forced to reuse the same gown all day. When I got home, I didn’t want to risk infecting my family. So I took off all my clothes before entering the front door. My children were amused. But I was worried.
The anxiety of being unprotected while caring for patients with this virus is unlike any other I have felt. It’s a fear that I know every health worker feels. And then things changed. I got vaccinated.
Last Sunday, while volunteering to vaccinate others at a community center, I felt relief. I wasn’t worried about becoming infected. I wasn’t worried about making my family sick. Free from fear, I could focus completely on caring for the person in front of me.
Read 6 tweets
1 Feb
After being sworn in this morning, I'm honored to share that I've been appointed by @POTUS as the President’s Malaria Coordinator to lead the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (@PMIgov). I'm grateful for this chance to serve. My reflections on my first day in office:👇
My family and I arrived in America 30 years ago after fleeing civil war in Liberia. A community of Americans rallied around my family to help us build back our lives. It's an honor to serve the country that helped build back my own life as part of the Biden-Harris Administration.
In the face of unprecedented crises, I am humbled by the challenges our country and our world faces to build back better. But as I have learned in America: we are not defined by the conditions we face, we are defined by how we respond.
Read 8 tweets

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