Organizations work to vaccinate Black communities

Bishop Stewart and Dr. Elaine Bryant at A.L.A.R.M International, BBQ Giveaway educating individuals in the community about COVID. Photo courtesy: Pastor Kevin Alford

Tallahassee organizations are working together to educate black communities about the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations. Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, Black Men’s Health and Abundant Life And Restoration Ministries (ALARM) International Church  are working to increase the vaccination rate amongst blacks in their communities.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation health system tracker, only 33% of the black community in Florida have received their vaccinations. Black people are found to be more hesitant to receive the vaccine as compared to their white counterparts.

Dr. Claudette Harrell, the project manager for Bethel Missionary Baptist Mobile Medical unit, said that they are working with organizations and groups to educate as many people as they can about the vaccine.

“What we are trying to do is help to educate through our healthcare component and talk to people to first find out what are those concerns,” said Harrell.

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church is looking to build capacity and connect people with the proper resources for them to remain in good health. Harrell hopes that she can encourage people to get tested for COVID-19 and get the vaccine.

Pastor Kevin Alford Sr., the executive pastor for ALARM International, has been actively working to educate individuals in his community about the coronavirus disease. Alford said that he noticed that many people lack trust and are skeptical of the vaccine.

ALARM hosted a vaccination site on their church grounds on May 15. Alford said they didn’t vaccinate as many individuals as they hoped but their goal is to still ensure that minorities are getting vaccinated.

“We have to do what we can, we have to be leaders,” he said.

Alford and other leaders of ALARM decided they would lead by example on May 15 and get vaccinated.

Organizations are also receiving funding from the county to educate black individuals. Black Men’s Health, a health educational platform, received a $2500 mini grant from Leon County earlier this year to help educate blacks about vaccines.

Jon D. Brown is the founder of Black Men’s Health. Brown said they developed a campaign that would help elevate the voice of black men in their community. The campaign was composed of a diverse group of black men from all ages and lifestyles.

“It’s important to us to see ourselves in the campaign speaking specifically to why they have considered, or why they are considering getting the vaccine to keep the family safe,” he said.

Each of these organizations plan to continue to educate individuals on the vaccine. Bethel Missionary Baptist Church will be sponsoring an event on Sept. 18 at Fort Braden Middle School. ALARM is planning a drive through trunk or treat on Oct. 31. Both events are aiming to educate more individuals about the vaccine.