Dr. B launched this winter as a COVID vaccine standby list to help providers connect extra doses with nearby patients efficiently and equitably. This was desperately needed so providers would no longer need to scramble to find people to take shots when there were last-minute cancellations. Dr. B’s standby system also prioritized individuals based on local government criteria to provide vaccine access to vulnerable populations, ensuring doses were not just going to those who had time to wait in line all day.
To partner with as many providers as possible, we launched a national community outreach effort. Our team was able to quickly build a community of over 700 providers in 38 states that collectively offered 1.1 million doses. Now, as the vaccination landscape has evolved, the team listened to feedback from providers and adapted our work to focus on making it easier than ever for anyone who wants a shot to get one.
In April, we began connecting with not only providers but also community based organizations, universities, libraries and other community leaders to vaccinate as many people as possible by removing the barriers that prevent people from getting shots.
One of our biggest learnings this spring was the need for hyper-local and community-specific outreach. With that in mind, we adjusted our summer outreach strategy and focused on target cities where vaccine rates are lagging. Our City Directors created outreach programs specific to those target cities knowing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to vaccination efforts. Our programs meet the needs of specific neighborhoods and constituencies and work together with community allies to get us across the finish line of the last mile of vaccination efforts.
For example, in Washington DC, we are focused on areas that have dramatically lower vaccination efforts. Those who are least likely to be vaccinated are also more likely to live in food insecure communities, so we partnered with Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) and Food for All to share information about how to get vaccinated. We are also tabling at FRESHFARM farmers markets located in food insecure communities to sign residents up for Dr. B and connect them directly to a vaccine.
This is just the start for us and we’re hopeful that our ongoing initiatives will help underserved communities across America sign up to get a shot!