Several local community based organizations are joining together to bring information and equal access to the COVID-19 vaccine in diverse communities in the Utica and Rome areas.

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It's being called the Mohawk Valley COVID Community Navigator Program, including The Center (formerly the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees), Mohawk Valley Frontiers, Mohawk Valley Latino Association, Hope Chapel AME Zion Church, the Rome NAACP and the Utica/Oneida County NAACP.

The outreach effort is being funded by the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties through the Ron and Shelia Cuccaro Family Fund.

“We feel strongly that those who have suffered the effects of COVID-19 disproportionately deserve our community’s very best efforts to ensure that they get information and access to the vaccination,” said Ron Cuccaro in a statement from the Community Foundation announcing the effort. “Sheila and I are thrilled that The Center and all of the community partners are engaged in this important work, and it’s great to see the impact we can have when we all work together.”

“Nationally and locally, people of color have suffered disproportionately from the pandemic, so this effort is critical to our community'', said Shelly Callahan, Executive Director, The Center.

While local statistics breaking down whose been vaccinated and who hasn't isn't available, Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reflects the disparity in COVID-19 inoculation among minorities:

As of June 07, 2021, CDC reported that race/ethnicity was known for 57% of people who had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Among this group, nearly two thirds were White (61%), 9% were Black, 15% were Hispanic, 6% were Asian, 1% were American Indian or Alaska Native, and <1% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, while 8% reported multiple or other race.

Some good news on that front, however, as the CDC also reports the 'share' of COVID-19 shots being administered to minorities in the last couple of weeks is rising:

Nearly three in ten (28%) vaccines administered in the past 14 days have gone to Hispanic people, 8% to Asian people, and 11% to Black people...

Officials say the effort to launch a coordinated outreach effort in diverse community in the Utica/Rome area was developed through a workgroup facilitated by Mohawk Valley Health System and Oneida County.

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