Children’s Health Fund today kicked off “Vax, Snacks, & Rx,” a campaign to increase COVID-19 vaccinations among children in Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco, and distribute food and prescription medicines to families in need.
Underwritten by a $400,000 lead gift from the Cielo Foundation, the program will serve children and families through a fleet of mobile clinics operated by CHF’s network partners in the three cities, and which deliver comprehensive health services—medical, dental and mental—to under-resourced communities.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nationwide, approximately 9% of children 6 months – 4 years, and 38% of children 5 – 11 years old have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, though the rates vary widely across states.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic is not behind us yet, we are making great progress and have more resources at our disposal to help keep children from becoming seriously ill. But healthcare providers must make an extra effort to ensure that the hardest-to-reach children are protected,” said Arturo Brito, MD, MPH, and CHF president and CEO.
The priority for the “Vax” part of the program will be to reach unvaccinated youth, including children five and under now eligible for vaccines, while simultaneously administering COVID-19 boosters to those who have had at least one shot.
At the same time, vaccinations against flu and other infections will be offered over the course of the program.
The “Snacks” part of the program is designed to address the nutritional needs of families living in under-resourced communities. It will include stocking community pantries with healthy foods and making school supplies, clothing, and shoes available to those in need of this assistance.
Finally, to fulfill the “Rx” program goals—in which both Chicago and San Francisco are participating over the course of the campaign—mobile clinic staff also will provide prescription medications to individuals who have no other way to access them and who suffer from chronic illnesses and other health-related problems, including asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
The program will educate parents and caregivers at special events or during clinic visits about the importance and safety of COVID-19 vaccinations and the need to stay current on other vaccinations that prevent diseases in children. Clinic staff will also speak with them about other factors that contribute to their children’s health and well-being, such as good hygiene and nutrition and safe sexual practices that prevent teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
About Children’s Health Fund
Children’s Health Fund is the nation’s foremost nonprofit dedicated to providing access to comprehensive healthcare for children growing up in under-resourced communities throughout the United States. Medical, mental, dental, and health-related social services are provided through 25 partners in 15 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Over the last 35 years, CHF has mobilized and deployed more than $230 million to its national network, providing more than 6 million health visits, including over 400,000 in 2021. CHF was founded in 1987 by singer/songwriter Paul Simon, pediatrician/child advocate Dr. Irwin Redlener, and program designer Karen Redlener.