Providing Access to COVID-19 Vaccine for Worcester Communities of Color
Building Mosaic Solutions, Inc. works with local faith-based leaders and Atlantic General Hospital to register nearly 1000 people for vaccinations.
Things have changed as we come up on one-year of having to deal with Covid-19 and the pandemic that has swept the entire world. What isn’t always talked about however is the rate at which the pandemic has been affecting minorities and people of color. Statistics show that minorities are passing at more than FIVE times the rate of Caucasians from the virus. Here we are a full year later and a vaccine for the virus is now being distributed at a record rate. However, the difficulties continue for minorities in trying to get the vaccine, these difficulties increase even more for the elderly. Technological gaps made it hard to access signups to even get in line for the vaccine, combining this with the overall hesitancy in how the news has been presented in general and the task grows that much harder. Enter Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) President Michael Franklin, St Paul UMC Holistic Health Co-Chair and non-profit Building Mosaic Solutions (BMS) President and CEO Dr. Darlene Jackson-Bowen based out Worcester Maryland County, who will have helped educate and provide over 1000 vaccinations to their community by mid-April.
The end result was a collaborative effort between Atlantic General Hospital, St Paul UMC, Building Mosaic Solutions, and 35 Faith Partners all over Worcester County.
“I think it’s more of a rural access issue, it’s a socio-economic issue, it’s a technology literacy issue,” Michael Franklin says.
This collaboration looked to tackle all of these issues along with general hesitancy in taking the vaccine. It began with Dr. Jackson-Bowen, Gladys Gaynor RN, Director of Support Rev. Gail Mansell, Director of Pharmacy James McGinnis, Pastor of St Paul UMC, Rev. Peggy Briggs, contacting a few of the Faith Leaders in the area to then Dr Jackson-Bowen reaching out to all Faith Partners at their respective churches of color. During all of this AGH Faith Partners and BMS were putting together a combination of teleconferences, presentations, PowerPoint and meetings to help educate the community and dispel the myths behind the virus and vaccine. In just two weeks' time St Paul Health Team, BMS & Faith Partners were able to bring the community together. In order to combat the technological gap, the collaborative effort helped elders sign up for vaccines and eventually helped people get to and from their vaccinations. Faith Leaders & Community Partnership have proven this process works and can reach the people that desperately need assistance during this time.
February 27th, 2021 Atlantic General Hospital had their first dose of the Moderna vaccine ready for those 65 and older. Another round of first doses were given just a few weeks later on March 13th, bringing the total of those given the first dose of the vaccine to 513. A few weeks later, those who got their initial dose in February returned Saturday, March 27th to get their second dose of Moderna. Those who received their initial dose in the beginning of March will be back on April 10th to get their second doses.
By the time this is all done, over 1000 vaccinations will have been given out because of the hard work and collaboration of St Paul UMC Holistic Health Team, St John/Calvary UMC Charge, Tyree AME, Hutt’s UMC Charge-Ebenezer/ UMC, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist, Pocomoke UMC Charge-St James/Mt. Zion, 1st Corinthians, Collins Temple AME, St Paul AME, New Bethel UMC, New Macedonia Missionary Baptist, Free Indeed Ministries, St John UMC, Shiloh UMC, Miracle Tabernacle Deliverance, Williams AME, St John AME, Dean Divers Christian Church, House of Love Outreach Ministries, Calvary Pentecostal, , Cambridge Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc., Worcester County Commission on Aging, Worcester County Commissioner Diana Purnell, Donna Nordstrom, the Faith Leaders and Partners throughout the communities of color in Worcester Church Circuit and of course Atlantic General Hospital.