Published on in CHOP News
Since the FDA first issued the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has played an active role in making vaccination more accessible to the communities we serve. From hosting vaccination events in underserved neighborhoods to vaccinating unaffiliated healthcare workers, CHOP has partnered with organizations throughout the Greater Philadelphia area to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spearheaded by Sophia Collins, RN, clinical nurse program manager, and Sage Myers, MD, MSCE, attending physician, CHOP’s Community COVID-19 Program provides testing and vaccination in historically underserved neighborhoods. (Find a clinic near you »)
“The program was created to address racial, ethnic, language and zip code-based disparities in access to and uptake of Covid-19 vaccinations across the city,” says Myers. “The goal is to make the vaccine as low barrier as possible, with a focus on children, but through those children, bringing in everyone in the community.”
Key to this effort has been a group of teenage advocates from schools throughout Philadelphia. Armed with scientific facts about the COVID-19 vaccine, these 27 students “actively fight against COVID through peer-to-peer advocacy, education and community outreach and engagement,” says Collins. The Philly Teen Vaxx ambassadors organize events, canvas neighborhoods and promote pro-vaccination messages on social media, all with the goal of educating and empowering their peers.
In partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, the Philly Teen Vaxx Ambassador program and other community youth organizations, CHOP’s Community COVID-19 Program has provided vaccination through several community events.
- At a summer block party, the Back-to-School Jam, hosted by CHOP in partnership with the SDP, students enjoyed dancing, funnel cake and free backpacks, in addition to being vaccinated ahead of the new school year.
- A back-to-school vaccination event at the Philadelphia Zoo invited families to visit the zoo after receiving their CHOP vaccination.
- At Vaxx-it-Ball, a community event in Overbrook, locals gathered for a free basketball clinic and vaccination.
- A North Philadelphia fall festival offered live music, food, Halloween activities and vaccination to all participants.
- With the holidays just around the corner, children and adults received their CHOP vaccine along with free admission to the Philadelphia Zoo.
In addition to vaccines for area children, CHOP partnered with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) and various Philadelphia school systems to immunize more than 19,000 school personnel across the city. Our community vaccination efforts also included the immunization of thousands of non-affiliated healthcare workers throughout the community.