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Sedgwick County Health Department partners with Black nurses to vaccinate people of color

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Margaret Thompson, a member of the Wichita Black Nurses Association, says she saw a need for these mobile vaccine clinics and decided to act. 

The association partnered with the Sedgwick County Health Department to bring the clinics to Black and brown communities. One of five planned clinics opens this weekend, and Thompson said they’re ready to serve.

“They can’t get to the places or not getting the vaccine because they’re afraid to get it or not getting the vaccine because of going online and everybody doesn’t have a computer,” Thompson said.

St. James Missionary Baptist Church will be the first site to open on Sunday, March 7 at 1 p.m. Other sites opening soon are Calvary Baptist, St. Mary’s Missionary Baptist, and St. Mark United Methodist.

“We feel that the more church sites—that’s going to be the more Black arms we are going to be able to vaccinate,” Thompson said.

Thompson said helping folks understand the vaccine is key in getting people to feel comfortable with the shot. That’s why they’re handing out flyers explaining the rare instances of side-effects to put them at ease.

“Letting them know that by you aching in the arm, by you feeling chilled, you’re getting a foreign body into your body so it’s basically marinating to let you know that vaccine is working,” Thompson said.

Thompson says the clinics are open to Black and Latino people. There will be interpreters on-site for Spanish-speakers and a full staff of nurses, firefighters, and EMTs who will observe patients for 15 minutes after their injection.

The Wichita Black Nurses Association says its goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible.

“We were told by the health department, just tell everybody,” Thompson said. “Get the names. Get the telephone numbers, and then we will bring in what you need.”

In a statement to KSN News, health department director Adrienne Byrne said the county, “could not do these partner clinics without the help of the Black Nurses Association. Partner clinics ensure that we are able to offer the COVID-19 vaccine in historically underserved neighborhoods for those 65 and older.”

Byrne said the vaccine doses used at the partner clinics will not impact the downtown mega-site or those used for professions designated by the Governor’s office. Doses were allocated to the partner clinic based on the number of people who made appointments.

Appointments were required to get the vaccine on Sunday, and the Black Nurses Association asks you not to show up if you don’t have an appointment. Tabernacle Bible Church will host a vaccine clinic on Sunday, March 14. To schedule an appointment, call the church directly at (316) 681-3954. 

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