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New Beginnings Church Provides Vaccines for All, But Focuses on Blacks, Kent

KENT – Last week, visitors to the New Beginning Christian Scholarship were greeted with loud applause by volunteers from across the building.

Minutes ago, they received their second COVID-19 vaccine inside a large church gym, which was converted into a standing vaccine clinic. Volunteer medical professionals, many of whom are church members, injected patients in the back area. Dozens of people sat at least 6 feet away from a gym basketball hoop to detect allergic reactions after receiving their vaccine.

“We like to congratulate people after the second stroke,” said Oyselin Thomas, medical director and church member who helps run the immunization clinic.

In the postal code, where S և Latin populations are least likely to be vaccinated against ethnicity, exaltation may be regulated. Throughout the Qing Dynasty, COVID-19 continues to disproportionately affect color communities. Although Ss make up 6.4% of the county, they account for 11.3% of COVID-19 cases, according to the latest Seattle և King County County Health Statistics. Latinos make up 10% of the county’s population, yet they make up 23.5% of the population.

Starting in February, the New Beginnings Christian Fellowship will be based primarily on the Black Meeting located at 19300 108th Ave. SE, Kent, operates the COVID-19 vaccination station in an effort to close the racial justice gap in vaccine distribution. Over time, the site became known for its easy-to-schedule appointments, a place where blacks are served by people of color who are trusted by volunteers. The first dose of Pfizer vaccine will be available on May 18 at the next clinic.

Vaccinated people in Kent’s New Beginnings Christian Fellowship sit for 15 minutes to make sure there are no immediate side effects. (Greg Gilbert / The Breaking National)

From February 20 to the end of April, New Beginnings hosted 12 clinics with 3,505 doses of the vaccine, according to the Reach and Teach Health Ministry (AARTH), an African-American non-profit organization. 62% of the patients in these clinics were African American, 27% were non-black, and 11% were white. More than half of the patients were under 50 years old.

The Kent Church Permanent Vaccine Clinic follows a model of public health used by the city of Seattle that prioritizes community collaboration: vaccinating the people most in need.

New Beginnings was chosen as the site in November last year following discussions by FAR Hutch, AARTH’s Ministry of Social Justice staff in Renton, about ways to make the vaccine available to people of color. Fred Hatch և AARTH has previously collaborated to inform communities about HIV treatment research. Thomas, who was also a member of the AARTH board and a nurse, has been advising his church to host the clinic since February.

At the Church Vaccine Clinic, each partner provides volunteers, while Fred Hatch delivers the vaccine to some staff. AARTH is run by the administrative side, managing contracts, offering free transportation services, և launching vaccination appointments և volunteer registration portal. The AARTH staff delivers small bags filled with literature from the Centers for Disease Control, Prevention and Public Health. The new beginning provides the space as well as volunteers from the church.

Given AARTH education և the spread of HIV, another epidemic that disproportionately affects the BlackBerry population, the organization was well-equipped to meet the needs of the community while using vaccines. That’s what mentor Mary Diggs-Hobson says. Launched nearly two decades ago, AARTH employees also train healthcare providers, assist institutions that serve skinny clients, people of color, and improve their organization կառուց governance.

Their work in the local community has prepared AARTH for potential barriers to vaccine availability, such as the lack of technology and the Internet for older adults. Thus, the staff created a version of the telephone service in the online portal for vaccine registration, so that all planning can be done in one call. The grant funding allowed them to provide older adults with laptops as well as digital education.

Although Kent Church is the only standing clinic AARTH has partnered with, the organization has also organized pop-up clinics in partnership with Seattle Central Center Senior Center, First African Methodist Episcopal Church, African American Health Council, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle Children with: Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic.

During the New Beginnings Christian Association in Kent, volunteer Kelly Leonard hands over a table to Chiara Gill, a parishioner of the church.  Everyone in line had to fill out forms before getting the vaccine.  (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

During the New Beginnings Christian Association in Kent, volunteer Kelly Leonard hands over a table to Chiara Gill, a parishioner of the church. Everyone in line had to fill out forms before getting the vaccine. (Greg Gilbert / The Breaking National)

Strengthening the confidence of vaccines

Trust builds trust in vaccines in communities, said Andrasik of Fred Hutch. As the church ևART has a long-standing reputation of trust in the colorful communities, Andrasik said. “People know this is an event that will be welcomed և affirmative և they know there is some confidence they can put in the vaccine.”

That was the case with Arlington resident Ruben Yerazon, who received his second dose at church last week at the suggestion of a vaccinated friend. New Beginnings was the only place Erazo was looking for a meeting.

“It was easy. It ‘s convenient, “Yerazo said a few minutes after receiving the second dose.

She donated her registration demographic to a group of volunteers who were called “data queens” by Thomas, one of the clinic’s organizers. As they entered patient information into the state’s immunization information system, the “data queens” swayed in their seats to Kool & The Gang’s “Get Down on It,” which sounded softly from a computer speaker.

Residents of the South Kings area are excited about being vaccinated at a familiar site, said data entry volunteer Jacques Ak Les. “They have a real, collective sigh of relief,” Lesi said. “They tell you how happy they are to be able to come to church and gain extra hope.”

Oy oselin Thomas is the Vaccine Officer in New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in Kent.  (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Oy oselin Thomas is the Vaccine Officer in New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in Kent. (Greg Gilbert / The Breaking National)

While the New Beginners Assembly is predominantly black, anyone in the community, regardless of ethnicity, can register for the appointment. Awareness is provided through information from the mouth, leaflets և church և AARTH website.

The clinic’s efforts to close the gap in racial discrepancies in access to vaccines have angered people who accuse it of discriminating against whites, said Leslie D., a New Beginnings priest. Braxton. He said the church had increased security because of online threats. “There was no exception, as some claim,” said Brexton. Instead, Brexton sees the effort as a “balancing act” as it left the initial distribution of the vaccine to blacks. He believes that the fluctuation of vaccines has also contributed to the reduction of vaccines in the community.

Distrust of medical professionals stems from historical experience, from modern institutional racism in the healthcare system, says Diggs-Hobson of AARTH. The Tuskegee syphilis study conducted by the National Health Service – 40 years of experience in which hundreds of black men with syphilis were unaware of the purpose of the study – refused treatment so that researchers could continue to study the disease has helped local distrust. Health officials.

To counteract the ambiguity of vaccines, volunteers at the clinic answer questions and provide participants with resources “to ensure that the most affected communities have the resources they need to make informed family decisions,” said Andrasik of Fred Hatch. The Cancer Research Center has received letters from people evaluating the vaccine by people like them answering their questions in a non-judicial manner.

Dr. Della Harrison, a church member at New Beginnings, a Seattle Oriental Medicine practitioner, treats patients with symptoms after vaccination. When he meets visitors who are concerned about how quickly the vaccine was developed, Harrison alleviates their concerns by explaining its development and assuring them that the medical industry has come a long way since the Tuskegee study.

Pharmaceutical technician Aisha Thomas prepares the COVID-19 vaccine syringe to be used at the New Beginnings Christian Fellowship.  (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Pharmaceutical technician Aisha Thomas prepares the COVID-19 vaccine syringe to be used at the New Beginnings Christian Fellowship. (Greg Gilbert / The Breaking National)

“There is a need for this vaccine site in our community,” Harrison said. Many of the visitors said they were grateful it was in their neighborhood.

Dr. Margaret Tovolavi, a volunteer vaccine member and a member of the Family Doctor Church, was delighted to return to the New Beginnings Christian Society for the first time in a year. As a black doctor, he could act as a representative in the community.

“Although it is not Sunday, it is really good to feel the presence and energy of the building, because it never passes,” Tovolav said.

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