ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — After months of outreach to encourage more people to get the vaccine, leaders with the St. Louis County Health Department said their efforts are finally paying off.
Since January, the health department has worked to make vaccines easily accessible to everyone in the county, with emphasis on vulnerable populations and medically underserved areas. Damon Broadus helps lead outreach efforts and has worked to organize over 116 vaccine pop-up clinics in 69 locations.
“This has built a community outreach infrastructure offering people of color, immigrant communities, people with functional needs and other community needs access and updates to vaccination information and those events,” Broadus said.
The St. Louis County Health Department has put on about two to three events each day at various churches and community centers over the last few months. In addition, leaders have door knocked and provided transportation to reach those who may not have access to technology. Broadus said about a third of the vaccine pop-up events were hosted in north St. Louis County, known to be a medically underserved area. The health department focused on six zip codes: 63133, 63134, 63135, 63136, 63137 and 63138.
In the last seven weeks, the health department said countywide vaccinations have increased 5.7% and rates in vulnerable zip codes have jumped 7.5%.
“Knowing we’re going door to door and seeing those increases week after week, it’s very helpful but we know we still have to go further,” Broadus said.
At Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Father Mike Henning and other parish leaders helped host two pop up events in recent weeks. Henning said over 50 people received vaccines at the clinic in July and another 73 people received shots earlier this month.
“It was very exciting, we really are trying to be here as a service to the community and this in particularly is one of those special needs where we want to be as available to the community as we can,” Henning said.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page will discuss efforts to increase the COVID-19 vaccination rate in St. Louis County at a vaccine clinic in Ferguson on Wednesday morning.
The Health Department is expanding outreach efforts by partnering with barbershops and beauty salons to host vaccine clinics. This Saturday, August 21 The Ultimate Cosmetology Academy will host the first event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Director, Wydonna Sumpter said several of her students are hesitant to get vaccinated – and she hopes hosting a clinic where they learn will help.
“I am very excited because we have all the students here, they are the younger generation that is not getting vaccinated,” Sumpter said.
Anyone is welcome to get vaccinated at The Ultimate on Saturday. Walk-ins are welcome. Details can be found here.
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