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Partnership between county, local churches brings vaccine distribution to underserved communities

Published: Apr. 11, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - To help get more vaccines into the arms of minorities in Wichita, the Sedgwick County Health Department partnered with the Wichita Black Nurses Association and churches in underserved communities a month ago.

Organizers at Sunday’s mobile vaccination site at Greater Saint Mary’s Baptist Church said so far the initiative has been a success.

“I feel it has been very successful,” Margaret Thompson, a registered nurse with the Wichita Black Nurses Association said. “We already knew that once we started getting vaccines in our community that was going to work because people will come to church.”

Right now, the state reports Black Kansans receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a little less than half the rate of white Kansans. That’s what the partnership hopes to help change. On Sunday alone, they vaccinated more than 100 people. At each vaccination site, organizers said the goal is to vaccinate at least 100 people.

“We figured that as black nurses, when people see someone that looks like them they tend to take a breath and become a little relaxed,” Thompson said. “When we go out to the Hispanic community we have a lot of Hispanics who will be speaking Spanish.”

Organizers said by making vaccination locations more accessible to people in underserved communities, it’s had a big impact on increasing vaccinations in the minority community.

“With the county’s locations, they were having such a hard time of getting downtown and some did not have computers or printers to print off vouchers. Some would get on the telephone and get disconnected or would have to choose a time that didn’t work for them because they had to work,” Thompson said. “We have an area where people who need to sit can sit and if you are on a cane or walker, we will take a chair to you.”

To find out more on the county’s mobile vaccine clinic, click here.

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