Bronx, New York, – May 11, 2023 — Today, as the Federal government officially rolls back pandemic restrictions and ends the public health emergency, Urban Health Plan is launching “I’m in My….Era,” a multimedia campaign designed to bring awareness to the importance of COVID vaccines and boosters, while pointing to a new day and hope for tomorrow. As the nation collectively enters this new phase in living with the virus, which at the height of the emergency devastated communities, the campaign message is clear: Be confident about tomorrow, get vaccinated or boosted TODAY.
The FDA recently approved getting an additional dose of the current bivalent boosters for those 65 and above, or if they are immunocompromised. “Those over 65, are immunocompromised, or have any significant underlying or chronic condition, such as diabetes or asthma are at highest risk of an adverse outcome from COVID infection,” said Dr. Viju Jacob, Medical Director/VP Medical Affairs, who led the COVID response at Urban Health Plan.
He went on to say, “In New York City, Black and Hispanic communities along with younger demographics are the populations most behind especially when it comes to the bivalent boosters. Although I am happy that we are no longer seeing the same rates of infection in our communities, it’s important that we understand that COVID is still a threat to those whose immune systems cannot fight the virus, or who cannot recover as quickly. Therefore, if we want to continue this positive trajectory, and reduce the rates of infection even further, everyone should continue to receive their boosters, and if not vaccinated, do so now.”
The “I’m in My….Era” campaign, with messaging in both English and Spanish, was created in collaboration with F.Y. Eye, a NYC-based nonprofit intersecting art and advertising to amplify social issues and critical community information. PSAs will be shown across bus shelters, LinkNYC digital screens, nonprofit community spaces in the PSA Network, and a robust social media campaign targeting the Bronx, Central Harlem and Corona, Queens— some of the communities hardest hit by the pandemic and where many are still recovering.
“I’m relieved that we are taking this latest step toward normalcy,” said Paloma Hernandez, President, and CEO of Urban Health Plan. “However, we can never forget the devastation and pain COVID brought to our communities. Latinos experienced the highest COVID mortality rate among any racial or ethnic group within New York City. And, while deaths and hospitalizations soared, once there was a vaccine available, vaccination rates among Bronx residents varied widely, and on average they were much lower than the citywide vaccination rate. To me, and to everyone at Urban Health Plan, this was unacceptable.”
“We sent our outreach teams into the community to provide much needed education about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The results were incredible. We went from the lowest rates to some of the highest, and it is imperative that we continue to keep everyone safe,” said Hernandez.
For more information about COVID Vaccines and Bivalent Boosters visit: urbanhealthplan.org/covid-19.
About Urban Health Plan: Urban Health Plan (UHP), a health system of federally qualified community health centers based in the South Bronx, Central Harlem and Corona, Queens, has served the community since 1974. The organization has thirteen clinical sites, twelve school-based health centers, two mental health facilities, and ten administrative and program sites. In 2022, UHP had more than 82,000 patients and more than 395,000 visits. UHP is Joint Commission accredited. For more information, visit www.urbanhealthplan.org
About F.Y. Eye: F.Y. Eye is a nonprofit media agency revolutionizing social impact communications through the power of media, community, and art. Since 2005, their work has increased equitable access to information, resources and services in NYC. Through strategic research and design, F.Y. Eye’s programs center nonprofit work in the public square to strengthen community wellbeing and connect vulnerable populations to critical community resources. Visit fyeye.org