Local leaders promote COVID-19 vaccines for communities of color

Coronavirus

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The latest state data says less than 3% of African-Americans have taken COVID-19 vaccines in Kern County. Health experts say vaccines will play a leading role in wiping out the pandemic, and the Pew Research Center says African-Americans are less likely than anyone else to take the shots. Today two elected officials joined several local groups to urge Kern residents  to get the facts about vaccines.

Supervisor Leticia Perez and Bakersfield City Councilman Eric Arias joined the MLK CommUNITY initiative and the United Against COVID Coalition to bring information about vaccines straight to Kern residents’ doorsteps. The groups deployed over three-dozen canvassers to knock on doors and hand out flyers about vaccines. Event organizers hope the campaign will bring Kern residents to a vaccine clinic at the People’s Missionary Baptist Church.

“On Sunday, April 11th, from 10 o’clock until about 3 o’clock p.m., we will be having a pop-up vaccination site,” said Dr. V.K. Jones, Senior Pastor for The People’s Missionary Baptist Church.

Arleana Waller: “We have partnered with the governor’s office to put 1,000 Johnson and Johnson ‘one shot, get it done’ vaccines into the southeast community,” said Arleana Waller, CEO of the MLK CommUNITY Initiative. “We’re excited to partner with all the people you see here to canvas and reach the community and get them registered to receive this vaccine.”

Event organizers say the campaign targets the African-American community, but everyone is welcome at Sunday’s clinic. Doctors say getting vaccinated is the best way to end the pandemic.

“We’re one community here,” said Kern County Fifth District Supervisor Leticia Perez. “COVID has shown us how interconnected we are, even through the air we breathe. And this is an opportunity for us to come out here and say ‘you matter. You do matter.'”

Event organizers say you can either walk up for a vaccine or drive through to this weekend’s vaccination pop-up clinic. Again that’s on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the People’s Missionary Baptist Church in Southeast Bakersfield.

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