In January, I was asked to serve as a co-chair of Arlington’s Complete Vaccination Committee, a role I enthusiastically accepted understanding the importance of advocacy for AFC’s patients and our low-income neighbors as the vaccines became available. Through this partnership, AFC has had a front row seat to discussions about vaccine safety, registration processes, and access, and the chance to ensure our neighbors most at risk of being overlooked during this unprecedented public health effort would have a staunch ally.
In February, AFC signed an agreement with the county to provide vaccines to low-income, highly vulnerable residents including but not limited to our patients. We lined up volunteers, scheduled patients, and got quality and compliance measures in place so we could give our first 60 doses later that week. Becoming a vaccine site has been a resource intensive—but important—opportunity for AFC to provide a significant service to our patients and others who lack the language skills/digital literacy needed to successfully register for vaccine appointments.
In addition to direct vaccine provision, AFC is committed to communicating accurate, easy-to-understand information about the vaccine. Clinical staff members—trusted sources of information for our patients—are recording videos in multiple languages sharing their experiences getting the vaccine. We provide weekly, bilingual video updates to keep patients informed. Volunteer physicians recorded simple FAQ videos (in 4 languages) to help combat misinformation on the internet. It is our hope that these messages will encourage patients and the broader safety-net community to get the vaccine when it is their turn and ask questions if they still have concerns.
President, Arlington Free Clinic
Read our entire 2021 Spring Newsletter
Coming to the Table: Addressing Food Insecurity During the Pandemic
AFC’s Vaccine Clinics
Patient Story: Maria
Recognizing Jim Cole, President & CEO of Virginia Hospital Center, Friend of AFC
Transitioning to a Post-COVID-19 World Through a Mix of Virtual & Onsite Care
COVID-19: Year in Review
Spring 2021 Updates