WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Margaret Thompson with the Wichita Black Nurses Association saw vaccine rates in the county slowing, so she jumped into action to beat the virus. She and the organization are partnering with St. Mark United Methodist Church to host a vaccination clinic Saturday.
Those who come to get their first or second dose of the vaccine can walk away with incentives like a $25 gift card or a gift bag. Anyone aged 12 and older is eligible to receive the incentive. The gift cards were purchased through funding applied for through the Kansas Leadership Center’s Kansas Beats the Virus grant and the gift bags were put together by the Wichita Alumnae chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Pastor Robert Johnson had what he calls a mild case of COVID himself late last year. With the delta variant spreading more quickly, he said the community needs to do everything it can to defeat the virus. That all starts with partnering with the Wichita Black Nurses Association for a clinic this weekend.
“Because St. Mark is a faith community,” Pastor Johnson said, “I think it’s important for us to be at the heartbeat of that effort.”
Johnson said the Christian faith is a life of self-sacrificing service.
“There are other things that we could probably be doing on a Saturday. I think the virus–particularly this delta variant is serious enough that this is something that everyone in our community and city needs to turn the attention to to overcome.”
Johnson has lost friends to the coronavirus. One of his high school classmates, who did not have any underlying health conditions, caught the virus last year and died just a week later—a death Johnson said perhaps could have been avoided. That was before the vaccine was made available, though.
“I’m sure had he lived he would’ve gotten it,” Johnson said. “It just makes it more heartbreaking.”
He and Thompson hope offering vaccine incentives will encourage those who are on the fence about the vaccine to “do their part.”
“Just like Dr. Fauci said, ‘It’s like it’s on steroids,’” Thompson said. “And her boyfriend–I say COVID-19–I mean they hook up together. I mean she’s the attachment to him so she is not playing and we are not playing either.”
Organizers said even the headache, sore arm and fatigue from the shot are better than getting sick.
“There’s a risk when you get in your car and drive but the risk of getting the virus and damage is far greater than the risk of getting the vaccine.”
Thompson said she is begging people to come out on Saturday. She hopes 25 to 30 people will get vaccinated.
The clinic is Sat., Aug. 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. at St. Mark United Methodist Church located at 1525 N Lorraine, Wichita, Kan. 67214.