FEMA partners with local Black church for COVID-19 vaccine clinic

Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 23:36:13-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va - As some may be hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a new partnership between FEMA and local churches is encouraging more people to get vaccinated. One clinic is reaching people who might be nervous about getting the vaccine.

"The partnership with the local Black churches is one of the most important things that have happened in this community. One of the reasons why is familiarity. We still have a lot of barriers and hesitancy in the Black and brown communities," Mary Bibbs said, a vaccine organizer.

FEMA is partnering with local Black churches to get more people vaccinated who may be hesitant to get the vaccine. At First Baptist Church South Hill, the executive pastor says this partnership is having a huge impact on the community.

"You’re allowing individuals of all walks of life to be taken care of and cared for in a very special way, partnering with the Black churches. Of course, we’re ensuring we provide the very best," Dorteo Davis, the Executive Pastor of First Baptist Church South Hill.

Jenene Brown was hesitant to get her vaccine shot but decided to get it after much thought and debate.

"I’m not even going lie - I was petrified. So many talks. Everybody’s like, 'This will happen to you and that will happen to you. People are dying. I really don’t want to get it.' Honestly, if I didn’t want to travel out of the state, I would have not gotten it. But I’m glad I did because going forward I know I don’t have anything to worry about," Brown said after receiving her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 shot.

Brown encourages others to get the vaccine as well.

"I think it is probably the best thing for everyone to do just so we can wrap this pandemic up and get back to regular living."

Pastor Davis says this partnership is vital to the community.

"We’re very confident with what we’re doing. We feel comfortable with it, and I would encourage to get it if you love your family, friends and those who you’re around then protect them and protect yourself," Davis said.

The clinic has vaccinated more than 500 people this week. A FEMA representative says they plan to partner with more churches in order to get more individuals vaccinated.

Related: Local pastors instill faith in vaccine to help health officials vaccinate vulnerable communities

"We’d love everybody who is on the fence or still thinking about it to come on down and get there shot," said Lauren Laverne, a FEMA crew lead.

The vaccination clinic at First Baptist Church South Hill will end Saturday and will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Individuals can simply walk in to get their Pfizer vaccine, and no pre-registration is required.

Click here for our full COVID vaccination guide.