3/26/21— Last Sunday afternoon, Equitas Health, the Columbus Urban League (CUL), the African American Male Wellness Agency (AAMWA), and their Black Vacc initiative hosted a COVID-19 vaccination outreach event on the new Jerry Clark, MD & Barry McCorkle, MD Mobile Outreach Vehicle (MOVe). Led by Staff Pharmacist, Olivia Nathan, King-Lincoln Pharmacy and Medical Center employees stepped out of 750 E. Long Street and into the community to increase access to the COVID-19 vaccine for BiPOC residents in the King-Lincoln Bronzeville (KLB) neighborhood. Dwayne Steward, Director of Prevention, who along with the Community Relations team also supported the event, described this truly collaborative effort as “a radical moment in health equity that is rarely seen.” And it all started with a letter.
In late February, leaders from the Black community met with Equitas Health to discuss the importance of vaccinating BiPOC residents in the KLB neighborhood. Unable to attend, Olivia Nathan wrote a letter, expressing her concern that there were too few BiPOC people from the 43203 zip code among the hundreds of folks receiving vaccines each week at the Equitas Health King-Lincoln Pharmacy. One of the attendees shared Olivia’s letter with CUL President, Stephanie Hightower.
As a result, CUL, AAMWA, and Black Vacc agreed to collaborate with Equitas Health by providing grassroots, door-to-door outreach to access the KLB neighborhood’s BiPOC residents. They would bring the arms, and we would bring the shots. With Dwayne Steward and Prevention onboard, it made perfect sense to host our first vaccination outreach event in the KLB neighborhood on the MOVe!
80 people registered to receive their vaccinations at our MOVe pop-up clinic in the CUL parking lot in the heart of the KLB neighborhood. As a sign of the urgent need for this event and more like it, the “no-show” rate was an unheard of 9%. With a few quick calls, the CUL staff filled those 7 slots, so not a single vaccine was wasted. And more than 90% of the 80 vaccines were given to African-Americans.
In Olivia’s own words, “this event was a game changer. There were people without computers or access to phone service who thought they would not be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine until someone from Black Vacc knocked on their door. This initiative literally saved lives by engaging the communities who need our services the most.”
Equitas Health is committed to making MOVe pop-up clinics a central part of our prevention outreach.
Here’s to Olivia and everyone involved for keeping Equitas Health’s mission to reduce health disparities in BiPOC communities on the MOVe!