OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State leaders, local doctors, as well as the Oklahoma City County Health Department are working together to bring vaccines to the minority community in Oklahoma City.
The result – over a thousand vaccines will be distributed at Ebenezer Baptist Church this coming week.
“I’m feeling pretty good about it,” said Earnest King, who attends Ebenezer Baptist Church.
King is one of 1,100 people receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Tuesday.
Senior Pastor Derrick Scobey says it all started when he got a text message from Dr. Julie Watson, the Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for INTEGRIS Health.
She said, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you. I know it’s probably a busy day, but I would like to partner with you, with this vaccine,’” Scobey said.
That conversation resulted in a vaccine pod at the church. Scobey says it’s been a challenge for African Americans to access the vaccine.
“The African American community has been underserved and under-resourced as it relates to this,” Scobey says. “We’re certainly not wanting to leave others out. We just want to make sure this community is also being served.”
The church used a phone tree and an online sign up to get people in the community registered.
Scobey says he’s anticipating 75-80 percent of the people at Tuesday’s pod will be minorities.
The Oklahoma City-County Health Department was happy to help out, acknowledging the state’s vaccine portal has been difficult to navigate.
“I think the concern is it’s been brought to light to us that people see it as ‘only white people are getting the vaccine,’ and we do not want that perception at all,” said Molly Fleming with OCCHD. “We want to make sure that it’s available to everybody in our community.”
King says while he initially had concerns about taking the vaccine, he decided it was in the best interest for himself and those he loves.
“This vaccine ain’t necessarily about you. In all honesty, it’s about the people that are around you. Family, family comes first,” King said. “We don’t really know how long we have to live another day, so let’s take the precautions that we can to protect people from us.”
It’s important to note all the vaccines spots for this pod have already been filled.
Scobey says they are planning to do a similar pod a few weeks later for people to come back and get their booster shot.
And he’s hoping they will be able to do another first shot pod as well.