Stamford Hospital is working to break down any barriers that may be stopping minority populations from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. It's "No Barriers" program works with community groups to help ease any concerns people may have. Groups like the NAACP or Building One Community serve as trusted and familiar faces for the minority populations.
"We are the most diverse city in the state of Connecticut, and so we are consciously reaching out to those communities that might otherwise not take advantage of this great opportunity," said Stamford Mayor David Martin.
Building One Community works with immigrants and aims to assure them getting the vaccine is safe no matter their immigration status, whether or not they have insurance, or what language they speak.
"They come here and they don't even need an ID. We just want a name, and if the name is only Pablo, then Pablo it is. The importance is we're trying to make it as easy as possible and no questions asked," said Anka Badurina, Executive Director of Building One Community.
The effort seems to be working. Of Connecticut's largest cities, Stamford is leading the way, with 57.6% of its 75 and older population vaccinated with its first dose. This week, the Department of Public health said it needs to do more to reach high-risk populations, after releasing statistics on the racial disparities of vaccine distribution.
"Doing everything we can to reach out to different underserved communities and tell them if we make it easy for you, convince you it's safe, get someone you trust maybe a minister or a friend to reach out to you and tell you this will make a difference in your life," said Governor Ned Lamont.
In addition to outreach and education, the state is also planning to increase allocations of the vaccine to under-vaccinated areas and direct providers to expand their distribution to those areas as well.
Governor Lamont toured the Stamford vaccine clinic on Friday and said he would like to see the "No Barriers" program expanded to the rest of the state.