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Smaller COVID-19 vaccine clinics aim to serve minority communities

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 8:26 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Various studies have shown that COVID-19 disproportionately affects minority communities, but new vaccine data from Nebraska shows that they are being vaccinated at a lower rate.

The City of Lincoln has been working with community leaders in minority groups to bring smaller vaccine clinics to these communities.

Senior Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist, Tremaine Combs, has been working with the health department. He’s had conversations with other minority public figures from Lincoln in roundtables for DDHS about the importance of the vaccine.

Now he’s helping host a clinic for his congregation and community as a whole.

He says events like this aren’t aimed at forcing anybody to do anything; it’s about making resources available.

“Historically the African American community have not always trusted our public health officials,” Combs said. “Due to issues stemming from medical experiments in slavery and forced sterilizations up until the 1970s.”

U.S. Census Bureau data shows that as of March 15, 22% of black Nebraskans had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s compared to 35% for whites and 17% for Hispanics.

The health department said the clinic on Wednesday had 275 appointments with a steady flow of patients in and out throughout the afternoon.

“I think that this shows that there is some degree of turnaround,” Combs said. “That our community is starting to trust not just the science but the public health officials and that is an awesome, awesome experience to say the least.”

Combs was one of those vaccinated at the clinic Wednesday. He rolled up his sleeve for his second dose in hopes of encouraging others to do the same.

Data from that same U.S. Census survey also asked Nebraskans if they’ll likely get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Those results are promising with 77% of the black community saying yes, 80% of the white, 90% of the Hispanic, and 98% of the Asian community.

“This is very important to us and critical to us,” said Pat Lopez, the Director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

Mt. Zion hopes to host more vaccine clinics in the future.

“We hope that the conversation that we have begun and that we are having with public health officials would continue to move forward,” Combs said.

This is not the first minority-focused vaccine event in Lancaster County. The health department previously partnered with the Asian Community Center for one earlier this spring.

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