LOUISVILLE, Ky. — This Friday, close to 800 people will be vaccinated at Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center church in Louisville. It’s part of UofL Health’s ongoing effort to vaccinate communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 by bringing the vaccine to them via pop-up sites at local organizations, like churches.
What You Need To Know
- This Friday, close to 800 people will be vaccinated at Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center church in Louisville
- Vaccinaations are part of UofL Health's effort to vaccinate communities disproprtionately affected by COVID-19
- The partnership between churches and UofL Health is focused on vaccinating people 70 and up
Senior Pastor Timothy Findley, Jr. of Kingdom Fellowship said in 2020, he did triple the number of funerals he’s ever done in his 13 years as a pastor.
“Largely because of COVID-19. It’s been absolutely heartbreaking, and this is something that I just find to be a no brainer. It has to happen,” Findley said.
The partnership between churches and UofL Health is focused on vaccinating people 70 and up in underserved communities right now. The first pop-up vaccination site was at Community Missionary Baptist Church in Louisville’s Newburg neighborhood last Friday.
“I think when we look at the numbers and how COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities, I think that these kinds of events, these types of pop-up vaccination sites are absolutely critical to us saving lives in areas and in neighborhoods in our city that are feeling left out and are seeing so many of our loved ones die,” Findley said.
UofL Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jason Smith, said the point of the partnership is to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to these communities for easier access.
“At a location that is easier for the folks to get to, that you don’t have to be at a drive-through location if you can’t, and we’re working on making phone calls, and that’s where the churches are helping us,” Smith said. This partnership helps sign people up who may not have computer access and closer locations help with barriers to transportation.
Findley said recent winter weather changed his church’s plan to go out to places like grocery stores to sign people up. Instead, all sign-ups came from social media and word of mouth.
“Something that surprised me, and really before this event, I was probably leaning on the side of people are just apprehensive, but this has shown that it’s not so much apprehension as much as it’s access,” Findley said in regards to people getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the latest data by Louisville’s health department on the total number of people in Jefferson County vaccinated against COVID-19, 11 percent are Black and 79 percent are white, which compares to the county’s baseline population being 73 percent white and 20 percent Black.
Sign-ups for these pop-up sites aren’t just for church members. Findley said the majority of his congregation are millennials, so Kingdom Fellowship focused on signing-up anyone 70 and up who is a person of color living in Louisville.
“That’s how we have to approach this. If we regulate this to membership, depending on the size of the church, depending on where the church is, that’s going to absolutely affect how many people we get vaccinated. That cannot be the strategy going forward. We have to look at this as there are institutions in the community and they have access to Black and Brown people. Let them do what they do,” Findley said.
Registration is now closed for Friday’s vaccination event at Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center, but Smith said he has a list of about 20 other churches in Louisville that UofL Health is working with for this initiative. Smith said the plan is to continue these types of partnerships as Louisville moves through the phases to distribute the vaccine.
As part of this initiative, UofL Health also put together a Q&A video that’s provided to the churches to answer common questions about the vaccine.