Arlington County recently recognized Rosalia Fajardo, Jill Jacobs and staff at the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV) as recipients of their COVID Hero Award. The COVID-19 Hero Awards recognize Arlington’s community members, partners, providers, neighbors, friends, and family who have gone above and beyond to make sure their neighbors have been safe and supported throughout the pandemic. ECNV will be recognized for our staff’s efforts to help the community at Arlington County’s next Board meeting in January 2022.
In 2020 and 2021, ECNV dedicated significant efforts to deliver over 4,000 doses of vaccines to people with disabilities, their families and caregivers by setting up special registrations, hosting vaccination clinics and arranging home vaccinations for individuals who could not leave their homes. Yet there remain many who are unvaccinated, particularly in marginalized communities. ECNV continues to serve our communities through our pop-up home and community COVID vaccination clinics with our Trusted Disability Network during the COVID pandemic.
According to Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of ECNV, “People have limited perceptions that people with disabilities as the only ones who are dependent upon services and supports and fail to recognize how we are all interdependent upon each other. Our latest efforts center people with disabilities. The home and community pop-up events can only be scheduled by or on behalf of individuals with disabilities, who will act as ambassadors, bringing vaccination opportunities to communities who have not been reached through regular vaccination efforts.”
With MedsPack, our pharmacy partner for the clinics and home visits we hosted earlier this year, headed by our Project Director, Rosalia Fajardo we will host pop-up vaccine events that are co-organized by a person with a disability. These pop-up events will occur in the co-organizer’s home, yard, apartment building or community. Through grant funding we will be able to offer the co-organizer $200 to offset expenses such as food, lost income or work involved in hosting the event. Of course, we will provide information and connect people who do not wish to host a pop-up vaccination event with other available options. We are also recruiting paid Disability Champions in our Trusted Disability Network and paying $20/hour to promote COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters for people with disabilities and their networks within traditionally marginalized communities and to co-host vaccination clinics.
The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV) is a Center for Independent Living (CIL) based in Arlington, VA. Founded in 1982, we are a community-based non-profit agency run by people with disabilities for people with disabilities. Our current vaccine initiative is funded through grants from the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities/Administration for Community Living (HHS) (November 2021 – August 2022) and Alexandria Sleeves Up/Centers for Disease Control (November 2021 – March 2022) to serve people with disabilities and their communities in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties and the Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax.