Since 1912, Visiting Nurse Association Health Group (VNAHG) has provided home and community-based healthcare programs, responding to the growing needs of vulnerable, at-risk populations and to public health crises. VNAHG established a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), the VNACJ Community Health Center (CHC) in 1993 and they continue to work in partnership to provide healthcare for medically underserved populations.
When it became evident that COVID-19 vaccine would be availabile, Christopher Rinn, CEO OF VNACJ jumped into action to expand access for the elderly, and those impacted adversely by the digital and physical divide including homebound, minority, homeless and immigrant populations. Initially, VNAHG and the CHC created the state’s first community-based vaccination site in partnership with YMCA in January 2021, and established additional sites in Monmouth County to administer the vaccine to those eligible including first responders and frontline health care workers.
As eligibility expanded, Christopher recruited faith-based and senior organizations as “vaccine ambassadors” to help their constituents register and receive the vaccine where it was most needed. To date, more than 100,000 vaccines have been provided and as many as 60 people daily working across their vaccination centers.
VNAHG saw it was critical to begin vaccinating homebound patients, and subsequently brought national attention and awareness to the challenge of getting to these sick patients at home, as seen on Good Morning America. We performed the first ever-homebound vaccine in the country, 1500 homebound patients have received COVID vaccinations.
Mr Rinn initiated 110 mobile “pop up” vaccine sites targeting the homeless, food- insecure, minority and immigrant populations. VNAHG has collaborated extensively with the NJDOH, public health departments and community organizations to coordinate these pop-up sites and ensure walk-in access for these populations, providing over 16,600 COVID vaccinations with the support of our community partners.