Innovative Covid Outreach
Tennessee Health Care Campaign (THCC) has launched a COVID vaccination initiative for families living in Hardeman and Haywood Counties, with a particular outreach to underserved Black and Immigrant communities.
Building on alliances with leaders in the Black and Immigrant communities, THCC lifts up the voices of trusted local messengers spreading fact-based information. Through their Vaccine Ambassador program, they encourage local community leaders to promote COVID vaccination.
An innovative approach is their 2022 Back-to-School resource fair in Haywood and Hardeman counties, which provides school aged children and youth with school supplies and health information. Partnering with local civic, fraternal, and service organizations and collaborating with the Tennessee Dept. of Health, this event assures participants the opportunity to get COVID and other vaccinations needed to ensure a healthy school year.
A grant from the Student Health Coalition Legacy Fund supports printing, radio advertising and school supplies for participants.
Community Leadership Focuses on Health Disparities
In Hardeman and Haywood Counties, 20% of residents live below the poverty line and 12% are uninsured. Communities of color are chronically underserved and marginalized. The COVID pandemic exacerbated existing health disparities. Many people of color are uninsured and have limited access to medical care, while working in some of the highest risk occupations. Language, culture and immigration status create additional barriers. Tragically, 218 Haywood and Hardeman Countians have died from COVID illness. Culturally appropriate and community affirming strategies that encourage local community leadership are needed to reach these communities.
According to a February 2022 report by the Tennessee Department of Health, children are making up an increasing percentage of the COVID cases in Tennessee. Vaccination in children greatly reduces the likelihood of severe disease and complications and reduces disruptions to in-person learning. In addition, vaccinated children are less likely to spread the virus to others in the community. But vaccination rates are shockingly low. In Haywood and Hardeman Counties, less than 30% of youth age 12-17 and less than 15% of children age 5-11 are vaccinated.
Health Care Advocacy
The Tennessee Health Care Campaign (THCC) is Tennessee’s leading nonprofit consumer health care advocacy group. THCC’s vision is affordable, equitable access to high quality health care for all Tennesseans. THCC’s enrollment, education, policy analysis and grassroots advocacy has successfully increased the number of insured Tennesseans and promoted policies that improve cost, quality, and transparency in the health care system.