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Closing the COVID vaccine gap: Small clinics at churches and apartment buildings reach vulnerable residents

Meredith Cohn and Alex Mann, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Health & Fitness

“I got vaccines in the ’50s for polio and all that,” Bennet said. “I prayed on it.”

She did have some stipulations. She did not want Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine, with lower reported efficacy than the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. And no long lines. She’d already turned down an appointment her doctor offered at a clinic in Columbia for that reason.

“With my asthma, I wasn’t going to wait,” she said.

Regina Williams, 76, said she hadn’t gotten a vaccine yet because her doctors hadn’t yet offered her one, despite qualifying because of her age.

She said the in-house clinic at Bolton North also worked out better because she was able to assist her neighbor. Williams arrived arm-in-arm with the woman and they were vaccinated one after the other.

“My family made me stay with my daughter for 3 months, and I only got to go on the porch and in the yard,” Williams said. “It’ll be a relief to be more social.”

 

Bilingual Christian Church of Baltimore

At the Bilingual Christian Church of Baltimore, Bishop Angel Nuñez spent Friday night racing around the facility, where a vaccination clinic, boxed meal giveaway and hiring event were underway.

Nuñez worked with leaders on the state’s Vaccine Equity Task Force to hold the clinic at the East Baltimore church, where 120 people preregistered for appointments and others walked up hoping for extra doses. To Nuñez’s distress, some had to be turned away.

The charismatic church leader had worked with parishioners to find people in need of vaccines, then worked to register them. He also called fellow bishops and pastors of other Spanish-speaking churches so they could get shots and pass the word.

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