In September, the ACER Health Equity Team arranged a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccination clinic in partnership with Ebenezer Church. The event was an opportunity for the ACER Health Equity Team to meet people in a comfortable environment where we can provide health education and speak to individuals about their concerns.
Addressing vaccine hesitancy and closing the gap in health disparities among BIPOC & African Immigrant communities is one of our key focuses. As a COVID-19 Community Coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), our work is part of a much larger team of people collaborating to tackle the pandemic.
This fall, MDH held a celebratory meeting to commemorate one year of incredible community work by all the COVID-19 Community Coordinators (CCC). Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan were both in attendance. They took the time to thank all the community organizations present on the call for the collaborative effort put into helping the community through this pandemic.
MDH addressed ACER’s work as a CCC: “African Career, Education and Resources, Inc. (ACER) should be commended on how they collaborate with community partners and our trusted messengers. Given their reach, they are able to identify gaps and barriers, and are quickly able to determine the needs of the community.” – Aisha Galayad, CCC Team Lead for African American/Immigrant Organizations
TESTIMONIES FROM EBENEZER CHURCH CLINIC
To understand the various reasons people have vaccine hesitancy we asked church attendees at Ebenezer why they waited so long to get vaccinated:
“There has been a lot of scary information about the vaccine going around. I had planned on getting my vaccine earlier but didn’t go because of [what] I was hearing…I attended the information session with ACER last week and then even my Pastor told me I should get it. So that is why I am getting it today”
“I was concerned about how fast the vaccines came out and I wanted others to take it first so that I could be prepared for what to expect. I didn’t want to be in a trial.”
“My mother was scared for me and did not want me to get the vaccine, so I listened to her. But I am traveling out of the country, so I knew I had to get the vaccine. I have been thinking about it all morning and with the clinic being in the church, it is just easier.”
“I had gotten COVID-19 before and I thought that I would be protected from it for a while, so I just waited. But now that the vaccine is being given in my church, I thought I should just get it.”