UofL Health Vax Pop-up Station

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- UofL Health is teaming up with predominately Black churches in Louisville to host COVID-19 clinics as a way to address racial disparities in who is getting vaccinated.

The first clinic is scheduled at the Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center at 324 E. Broadway on Feb. 19. Just under 800 people had signed up by Tuesday.

Kingdom Fellowship pastor Tim Findley Jr. said the clinic is needed and that 2020 was the toughest year he has seen in his 13 years of pastoring. 

"In 2020, I did probably triple the amount of funerals I've ever done, largely because of COVID-19. It's been absolutely heartbreaking," he said. "And this is just something I find — it's a no-brainer — it has to happen."

As part of the initiative, UofL Health has also put together a Q&A video that will be provided to churches to answer some of the most common questions about the vaccine. But questions about the shot isn't the main problem, Findley said.

It's access.

Most vaccines in Louisville have been administered at or near hospitals or Broadbent Arena, places may people can't get to easily.

"This has shown that it's not so much apprehension, but access," Findley said. "(People were) absolutely desperate to get on the list."

As of Feb. 16, only 19% of Louisville's non-white residents had received a first dose, despite making up 26.8% of the population.

"That is not in line with the disease burden typically seen within the organization," said Dr. Jason Smith, chief medical officer with UofL Health. "We're fully 25+% of folks coming in with severe disease is someone of color."

Smith said UofL Health is in discussions with about 20 other churches to possibly host other vaccine clinics.

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