New London

Public Health Workers Increasing COVID-19 Outreach Efforts

Ledge Light Health District is planning for a summer of pop-up vaccination clinics and door-knocking.

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Lizbeth Smith went door-to-door in a Groton neighborhood Tuesday afternoon. She said she has one goal for the summer: knock on every door in New London County to make sure people have access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

Smith, a community health worker with Ledge Light Health District, lives in Groton and is originally from Peru. She has spent the last several months working on vaccine outreach in Spanish speaking communities, like the Groton neighborhood where LLHD hosted a pop-up clinic Tuesday.

“It’s important because some cannot go to a clinic or don’t have transportation," said Smith. "And also it’s good to to have Spanish speaking because some people don’t have the information. They don’t read and write in English.”

Smith invited several people to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the clinic in the Groton neighborhood Tuesday. She answered questions and addressed concerns.

Carolina Plasencia said she only received the vaccine after speaking with Smith because she felt comfortable.

“She is Spanish and she loves to help the community. She does not have just one job. She is a lot of different places," said Plasencia.

As some communities across the state lag behind in vaccination rates, LLHD is planning for more, similar, hands-on vaccine outreach.

“It’s not enough for us to say, 'well the information is available on CDC website- just take our word for it.' People need to have opportunities to have conversations with fellow community members, someone who they trust and get their specific questions answered," said Jennifer Muggeo, deputy director of the LLHD.

Some communities that are experiencing lower vaccination rates are also considered "socially vulnerable" based on indicators like access to housing and transportation. LLHD was one of several health districts that received vaccine equity grant funding from the state. They will use the funding to drive more resources towards those communities.

LLHD is planning for many more pop-up clinics and door-knocking all summer long.

"Even if you got three or four people you did something very good," said Smith.

More information on LLHD pop-up clinics can be found here.

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