BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Breaking barriers in McLean County was the mission of the county’s health department along with the NAACP Friday, Feb. 26, when they hosted a targeted vaccination site, encouraging minorities to get vaccinated against the virus.
Mount Pisgah Baptist Church off of West Market Street in Bloomington was the site where 200 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine were given out to members of underserved communities.
The health department said the goal is to make the vaccine easily accessible to every resident in McLean County that needs one.
According to IDPH statistics, just 3.5 % percent of African Americans and persons of color in McLean County are vaccinated and account for 8% of the population. Marianne Manko, public affairs coordinator for the McLean Health Department said these numbers need to improve.
“We must get those numbers up because COVID-19 has disproportionately affected in every facet, people of color in this pandemic,” Manko said.
Minority groups in McLean County said transportation, access, and trust of medicine make it harder to get the vaccine into the arms of Black and brown people. But, Manko said clinics like the one set up Friday help combat these barriers.
“We have to open up communities and clinics like this in a community where people are with a trusted group of people, can get the transportation they need, (and) take care of the details for them,” Manko said.
Linda Foster, the president of the NAACP in Bloomington-Normal said Friday’s turnout was great.
“Everybody is staying, there’s nobody saying ‘there’s too many people, I’m not staying,'” Foster said. “Everybody is waiting patiently for their turn.”
Greg Fraley got his shot on Friday, and said he wants to return to normal life, and getting the vaccine speeds up that transition.
“I heard the comedian Chris Rock say, ‘If you get a headache, you don’t know what’s in Tylenol, (but) you take it,'” Fraley said. “We all want to get back to some sort of normalcy and I think this is one of the quickest ways to get back that sense of normalcy.”
Foster hopes the targeted vaccine clinic encourages people getting shots to tell their friends and family to get protected too.
“If you do nothing, we continue to get this. If we do something, we can reduce the opportunity of anyone dying from it,” Foster said. “They’ll be able to tell somebody else to get it done.”
Fraley said he was never hesitant to get the shot, and it didn’t cause him any trouble afterwards.
“It didn’t hurt at all, it was quick and easy,” Fraley said.