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Church, Health Groups Providing COVID-19 Vaccines in San Francisco

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Third Baptist members waiting to get vaccinated. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jonathan Butler. Left to right: Dr. Malcolm John (Black Health Initiative), Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown (Senior Pastor, Third Baptist) Jane Brown (First Lady, Third Baptist Church), Veronica Shepard (San Francisco African American Faith-Based Coalition, founder), Betty Jones (Third Baptist member) Dr. Jonathan Butler (San Francisco African American Faith-Based Coalition, executive director)

One size, we know, does not fit all.

So, while, the Moscone Center is vaccinating thousands in the battle against COVID-19, a coalition of health and faith-based organizations is saving lives by the hundreds: and it’s working.

UCSF’s Black Health Initiative and San Francisco African American Faith-Based Coalition will offer Moderna vaccinations on Sunday, March 28, at Third Baptist Church at 1399 McAllister Street from 12 noon to 6:00 p.m. register for an appointment at www.thirdbaptist.org.

Those eligible to be vaccinated include individuals 18 years of age and older, who are:

 

  • healthcare workers
  • food/restaurant workers
  • grocery store workers
  • education and childcare workers
  • long-term care facility workers
  • emergency services workers

Also, those with certain chronic health conditions, the disabled, those living or working in congregate living spaces, and anyone who is homeless, or at risk of being homeless, can be vaccinated at this event.

Last Saturday, 150 people made appointments to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at Third Baptist Church. The week before, the vaccination site was Cornerstone Baptist Church. Future sites are the San Francisco Christian Center, New Providence Baptist Church, Double Rock Baptist Church and St. Paul of the Shipwreck just a few of the 21 congregations that are part of the coalition.

So far, each time the vaccine has been available – in a partnership with Walgreens- all of the vials have been used in inoculations. About 75% of the people who have come for the inoculation were Black; the remaining 25% were Latino and Asian.

It is well-documented that Black people are three times as likely to die from COVID-19 than whites. This effort, deliberately small and intimate, is aimed at closing that gap, little by little.

Jonathan Butler, a medical sociologist, spoke for the coalition, which is now also partnering with the San Francisco Dept. of Health and Walgreens. The coalition had been providing services since the onset of the pandemic: 250,000 meals have been served to 1,400 families, 10,000 from Third Baptist Church.

It is because of that previous service and the trust community members seem to have for the Black church, Butler said, that the coalition has been successful.

The vaccinators, physicians and administrators are mostly Black and people of color, Butler said. About 20 physicians or residents from UCSF are on hand throughout the course of the day answering questions and providing advice.

There is also value in intimacy of the small operation and the attention given to individuals, Butler said.

At most vaccination sites, people are required to wait 15 minutes to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction.

The coalition personnel go even further: vaccine recipients will get a check-in call the next day and another one four days later. During those calls, recipients will also be asked what else they may need. Food? Counseling?

“We try to take care of the whole person,” Butler said.

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