Jontaya Moore | Staff Writer
The Hampton Health Mobile hosted another vaccine drive at Friendship Baptist Church from 2 to 9 p.m. for the Hampton Roads community on Nov. 3.
The vaccine clinic administered Pfizer vaccines and Moderna boosters, according to Dr. Aviance Lewis, the community engagement coordinator.
Vaccines reduce or eliminate numerous infectious diseases that previously killed or harmed populations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, if left unvaccinated, a person can still contract the disease.
The Health Mobile Testing and Vaccination Unit serves as the first mobile clinic under an HBCU, according to ABC News. They will continue to make those in underprivileged, low-income and rural communities a priority when it comes to COVID-19 testing, according to HU News.
The Hampton Roads community is 49.3 percent Black, according to ABC News. Despite the three different COVID-19 vaccinations, minorities are still less likely to receive the vaccine at the same rate than that of their white peers, ABC reported.
“It’s a lot of anxiety regarding the virus and the vaccine…when you can have people in a place that they’re familiar with that helps negate some of that,” Lewis said.
For some, according to Lewis, being able to re-establish bonds and ease these fears surrounding the virus and vaccine have been made possible through churches and community centers. Representation within minority populations also has helped in getting more people in more communities vaccinated.
More than half of the Friendship Baptist Church congregation was vaccinated since the vaccines became available to their community in June, according to Catina Rollins, the church pastor’s assistant.
“The only population that we’re looking to get vaccinated are the ones that are [ages] 5 to 11 now,” Rollins said.
Children in that age range are now able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer vaccine as of Nov. 2, according to the CDC. Officials have found the treatment for children to be 91 percent effective, with the most common side effect being a sore arm. The doses administered to the children between these ages will be a third of the amount given to teens and adults, the CDC posted on its website.
Pfizer and Moderna are currently testing shots for babies and preschool range students, and Pfizer intends to have answers by the end of the year, according to WAVY. Those age 12 and older will be the next target audience of the Mobile Vaccine Clinic.
Hampton University medical students also have been able to actively work with medical professionals in helping vaccinate these communities, according to HU News.
“Vaccinations are a big part of what you do as a pharmacist,” said Jariatu Koroma, a Hampton University pharmacy student. “I’ve gotten a lot of hands-on experience with being able to administer vaccines to people.”
Koroma plans on using the vaccine clinic’s experience in her career following her graduation.
Lewis said the Hampton Vaccine Mobile will continue to conduct vaccination clinics throughout Hampton Roads.