Howard County Executive Calvin Ball visited the mobile vaccine clinic at St. John Baptist Church in Columbia. This clinic is one of the first focused on equitable distribution of vaccine to hard to reach communities, an initiative Ball launched earlier this month. The clinic was operated by the Mobile Integrated Community Health (MICH) team, a program of the Department of Fire and Rescue Services. The MICH unit is expanding to bring the vaccine to targeted areas for distribution, as supply allows. Photos can be found here. Video can be found here.
“I truly appreciate St. John Baptist for hosting this clinic so that the vaccine is easily accessible and available to people in our community, especially those who have trouble traveling to further mass vaccination sites,” said Ball. “As we receive more vaccine supply, it’s vital that we have these local, safe clinics for our residents in their neighborhoods, to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine and build trust within our hard-to-reach communities.”
The clinic was a true interdepartmental initiative with 100 doses of Moderna vaccine supplied by the Howard County Health Department, and the Department of Community Resources and Services providing additional logistical support.
“Community clinics like the one at Saint John Baptist Church are critically important to meeting people where they are and providing an opportunity to receive vaccine in a trusted and familiar environment,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer. “These cooperative clinics ensure that we are able to reach our most vulnerable populations.”
Earlier this month, Ball announced a slew of initiatives to increase equitable distribution of the vaccine in Howard County, including $1 million in grant funding to community organizations to support vaccine outreach and education, and to close barriers to access. The grants will be utilized to build community partnerships and ensure vaccine information reaches all corners of Howard County, and especially to communities where English is not a primary language.
“The fire service was born out of the communities they serve,” said Fire Chief William Anuszewski. “It is important that we continue to provide the highest level of care to our communities to ensure their health and wellness. Supporting our residents with vaccinations in pop-up clinics like today at St. John is simply the right thing to do. We are part of this community and we will continue to serve them.”
“Today’s vaccine clinic at St. John Baptist Church was a wonderful example of the power of partnerships,” said Reverend Robert Turner, Senior Pastor at St. John Baptist. “The church, county government and the health department came together to provide help, hope and a literal life line to African American seniors at our church and in our local community. While we have not resumed in person worship in the sanctuary, today illustrated that in terms of community service, the doors of the church are open. One senior who got vaccinated said to me as she left, brighter days are coming.”
Here is the video: