LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Local health systems are working with Louisville churches to sign up community members and congregants for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Community Missionary Baptist Church in Louisville’s Newburg neighborhood helped distribute more than 100 doses of the vaccine Friday through a partnership with UofL Health. This was the first pop-up vaccine site UofL will host in the coming weeks.
Glenda Wallace told WAVE 3 News she has attended Community Missionary Baptist since 1965 and was glad to receive her vaccine close to home.
“I was signed up to go yesterday [Thursday], but with the weather, I canceled that appointment. I was glad when they offered it for here. I feel fine,” Wallace said. “I was kind of skeptical, I just wanted to kind of see, after people were taking it how it was affecting them, but I decided to go ahead and get it.”
Everyone vaccinated Friday were part of Kentucky’s Phase 1A or 1B and were at least 70 years old. They signed up directly through the church and will return to the church to receive their second shot.
“COVID has highlighted that certain communities are disproportionately impacted by illness in general not just COVID, and those same communities are disproportionately affected by access to care.” Dr. Edward Miller said. “I think as a health care system, we’ve recognized it’s our responsibility to be proactive and meet our community where they are.”
In Jefferson County, vaccine disparities are impacting Black residents. As of Feb. 8, it was reported by the health department that only 11% of Black residents first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, despite making up 22% of the population.
“There were a number of persons that have had difficulty finding sites to get signed up to get the vaccination,” Assistant Pastor Roosevelt Lightsy Jr. said. [This site] builds goodwill in the community and that’s something that we desperately need.
Lightsy said members of his congregation have expressed more confidence in the vaccine, but they continue to face issues finding appointments at vaccination sites. Lightly said Friday’s pop-up site was a “shot in the arm” to fixing accessibility issues.
“What’ve done at UofL Health is make sure that we’ve paid respect and that we are dedicating vaccine to this population and initiatives like this,” Miller said.
Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center will host UofL’s next pop-up site on Feb. 19.
Pastor Tim Findley told WAVE 3 News he received hundreds of phone calls when he launched a phone line Tuesday to make appointments. To check if appointments are still available, call (502)-966-3036, ext. 0.
“What we don’t want to do is open up the door for people to say, ‘I want to get the vaccination, but now I’m running into hurdle, after hurdle, after hurdle.’ We ought to have vaccination sites in the community,” he said.
At least 210 people were vaccinated Thursday between scheduled appointments and walk-ins at Norton Healthcare’s pop-up vaccination site at St. Stephen Church. At Bates Memorial Church on Friday, officials planned to vaccinate a similar number of people.