LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Norton Healthcare and UofL Health are partnering with predominately Black churches in Louisville to host COVID-19 clinics in an effort to address racial disparities in who's getting vaccinated.
Many of the pop-up clinics will take place at churches in west and southwest Louisville neighborhoods starting this week.
Norton is administering shots at Bates Memorial Baptist Church in Smoketown and St. Stephen Church in the California neighborhood. UofL Health is doing the same at the Kingdom Fellowship Life Center in downtown Louisville and Community Missionary Baptist Church in Newburg. Hospital representatives expect other churches to host clinics in the coming weeks.
"The members were scheduled through the churches and will be registered for their booster appointment when they arrive for the initial vaccination," Norton spokesperson Maggie Roetker said.
Timothy Findley Jr., pastor of Kingdom Fellowship, said Wednesday on Facebook his church has taken hundreds of phone calls for registration already. He said the issues laid out for weeks by Louisville's Black leaders isn't apprehension at getting the coronavirus vaccine but rather access to it. Issues like lacking transportation and no internet or limited understanding of how to use it have prevented some people from signing up who want the shots.
Currently, people 70 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Kentucky along with teachers, school staff and health care workers.
The churches are coordinating their own sign-ups and the dates vary by location as well as eligibility in terms of whether you must be a members of the congregation.
"We want to get our Black & Brown people vaccinated," Findley said. "African Americans in the country have been disproportionately effected so we've been getting COVID-19 at a faster rate than others but we've been getting vaccinated at a slower rate than everyone else and for those of us in the community we see this as a major problem because we're dying."
To register at Kingdom Fellowship's February 19th clinic, call 502-966-9036 x0 or text @KFVACC to 81010.
Vaccinations will be administered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12 at Bates Memorial. To make an appointment, click here or call 502-636-0573.
The St. Stephen vaccine clinic will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11, but as of Wednesday evening, organizers said all appointments have been filled.
Hospital representatives for Norton and UofL Health both stressed the importance of getting an appointment with each respective church. They don't want more people showing up than there is vaccines to serve. But don't lose hope if you can't get an appointment for the first round
"We have a dozens of churches who have shown interest and the thing is going back and working out a schedule with them," UofL Health spokesperson Carolyn Callahan said. "Each church is handling its own appointments, and we hope to do more in the coming weeks."
The city of Louisville's mass vaccination hub has been the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. The push to move into neighborhoods is also tied to data.
Gov. Andy Beshear said in a press conference Monday that despite making up about 8% of the the state's population, black Kentuckians have received only about 4% of the vaccines administered statewide.
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