A vaccine distribution effort supported by the Marion County Public Health Department has grown to provide additional services for people across Indiana.
Omolola (Lola) Adeoye-Olatunde, PharmD, MS, was the principal investigator for a grant supporting a collaboration with Purdue University Center for Health Equity and Innovation (CHEqI) and several community partners to offer free COVID vaccinations. Under the directorship of Jasmine Gonzalvo, PharmD, the CHEqI team organized 55 vaccination events between June 2021 and July 2022, administering 1,445 total vaccines in that time. Of the 1,195 people who were vaccinated, 40.1% of them identified as Black and 41.6% of them identified as Hispanic.
This effort started as a collaboration with Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, distributing COVID vaccines during regular food distribution days. Walgreens provided a supply of Pfizer vaccines, and English and Spanish speaking Purdue University pharmacy student volunteers assessed eligibility and interest in receiving the vaccine. Since then, the collaboration has grown to include 13 community partners, including Gleaners, St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry, Wheeler Mission Men’s Shelter and Wheeler Missions Women’s Shelter.
The team also started offering additional services, including harm reduction services and tobacco use screening and referral to resources for quitting. The harm reduction services include teaching people how to use naloxone, as well as distributing it. They have also distributed Deterra disposable pouches, which are a safe way to dispose of unused medications. As part of nine harm reduction events in 2022, they have distributed 175 Naloxone kits and 118 Deterra pouches. The team has also participated in five tobacco screening events, screening 313 people. Of those, 89 were tobacco users, 39 said they were ready to quit in the next two months and 29 were referred to trained tobacco cessation professionals.
As they move forward, Adeoye-Olatunde says they have shifted gears from calling these efforts the “CHEqI Community Vaccination Model” to the “CHEqI Community Health Access Model Partnerships (CHAMP).” The team was recently awarded additional funding to expand into cardiovascular risk reduction services, including blood pressure screening and referral and provision of community pharmacist-community health worker services at Gennesaret Free Clinic located within St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry.
“The three critical components of our CHEqI CHAMP growth are strong community-driven partnerships, our CHEqI Health Equity Fellows leading expansion, and our dedicated volunteers,” said Adeoye-Olatunde, who was an Indiana CTSI TL1 Postdoc Scholar in 2019.