MERIDEN — Vaccination outreach to local underserved communities continues through the Community Health Center, including mobile clinics at local churches.
CHC staff has been busy administering vaccines within the community, providing outreach with bilingual support and answering COVID-19 concerns.
The center operates mobile clinics in which a team of vaccinators and support staff go into a community setting, according to community relations director Michael Rohde.
“We know there are issues relative to hesitancy in the Latino community for different reasons so we have to make extra efforts to reach them,” Rohde said.
CHC is working with religious institutions such as Mount Hebron Baptist Church, 84 Franklin St., and St. Rose of Lima Church, 35 Center St.
“This is another opportunity for our Hispanic population to get vaccinated. Many can walk down to the church in downtown Meriden,” Rohde said.
Rev. Willie Young, Mount Hebron Pastor, said the majority of church members have been vaccinated, thanks in part to that outreach.
“People can help the church and the community by getting their vaccine... if there's anyone who has not yet registered, please do so,” Young said.
St. Rose will host a mobile vaccine clinic on May 1, expected to distribute between 300 and 350 vaccines. Mount Hebron will hold its second vaccine clinic on May 15.
Vaccines have also been distributed through mobile clinics at Community Towers, run by the Meriden Housing Authority, and other congregate living sites. Center officials also plan on potentially distributing vaccines in other congregate living programs under the housing authority.
In order to spread more awareness about vaccine clinics, CHC has been using social media, television ads, Spanish radio stations, and other outreach in Spanish.
“We’ve teamed up with the Record-Journal, MidState Medical Center, medical providers to provide information to the Latino community if there are questions and misconceptions about the virus,” Rohde said.
The center itself regularly communicates with patients about access to vaccination clinics, Rohde said.
“It's a full team effort. We’ve gone to a seven-day-a-week program for all of our sites. For those who are available on weekends and those who can’t get vaccinations during the week,” Rohde said.
Rohde said there have been several worries noted within the Latino community in regard to receiving their COVID-19 vaccination. One of the concerns has been ID and social security requirements for undocumented individuals receiving service. CHC does not require ID or social security, except a name and phone number to contact the individuals. The cost of the vaccine as well as side effects has also been a concern.
“We are also reaching out to the Hispanic community to ask them what might be a barrier to them getting the vaccine so we can make it easier for them to get the vaccine,” Rohde said.
The vaccine is being administered for free by the Community Health Center. Those interested in vaccination at mobile church clinics can sign up through the Vaccine Administration Management System website at https://vams.cdc.gov/vaccineportal/s/login/ by selecting the church’s destination, Parishioners will receive priority.