NYC COVID-19 Vaccine Access Public Deliberation
October 13, 2020
The global coronavirus has brought uncertainty and anxiety into people’s lives, workplaces, and neighborhoods, particularly for those who work to improve the health of our communities.
During this difficult time, many organizations across New York State are working tirelessly to keep people safe, especially the most vulnerable. In response, NYSHealth is supporting statewide and local efforts to address emerging health care and public health needs in the wake of the pandemic. In 2020, NYSHealth awarded the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) a grant to pilot a virtual public deliberation model for New Yorkers to share with policymakers their views on and preferences for COVID-19 vaccine access.
Under this grant, NYAM developed and piloted a template that can be used by local communities to advise decision-makers on their preferences and to help ensure equitable access to and uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine. Public deliberation has been used in health care, public health, and urban planning to provide State and local policymakers with guidance when technical solutions alone cannot clarify the best approach. NYAM partnered with the Center for Evaluation and Applied Research to hold several virtual public deliberations for New York City residents to offer input on which populations should receive priority for receiving a vaccine, as well as public concerns about the use of a new vaccine and its impact. NYAM then developed a facilitator’s guide that can be used by other localities interested in replicating the virtual public deliberations process in their own communities. It issued a report summarizing the methodology, main themes, and outcomes of the model for national, State, and local decision-makers. A toolkit was also made available to local health departments and other organizations interested in conducting a public deliberation on COVID-19 vaccine access and distribution.