PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As the vaccine efforts continue, community and faith leaders are stepping up to make sure no one gets left behind.
For the last couple of months, church leaders at the Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh on Bedford Avenue were setting up appointments for community members.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine To Remain In Limbo While Officials Seek More Evidence
“The locations were outside the city. There were very few that were on a bus line. So we recognized there a barrier of entry,” Director of Ministry Tanika Harris said.
Harris said the church decided to step up and use their place of worship as a place to do God’s work.
“Huge undertaking, but so worth it,” Harris said Monday morning.
“This is better than driving into Ohio,” Rick Dennis said after his wife got her shot.
AHN leaders say of the 200,000 shots they’ve put into arms, about 17% have gone to underserved communities. On Monday, both the Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh and the Petra International Ministries in Penn Hills did about 750 shots.
“The quicker we vaccinate people, the better off we all are,” AHN Director of Strategy for the Center of Inclusion Health Stuart Fisk said.READ MORE: Multiple Ballot Questions Face Voters In This Year's Primary
They realize there is hesitation with the vaccine because of historic wrongs by the medical field against the Black and brown communities.
“It is up to us to break down that barrier and that distrust. Us being here and doing this is really good,” Fisk said.
Harris said the church is working to educate people about the vaccine and letting them make their own choice.
Medical personnel gave the shots in the church’s sanctuary. That’s a spot the congregation hasn’t been able to meet because of the pandemic.
“So they are just elated to know that their church is taking action,” Harris said.
“This is a good thing happening in our community,” Dennis said.
Church leaders know today’s efforts are not enough to help everyone, but this isn’t the end.MORE NEWS: Parents Say Pine-Richland Head Football Coach Eric Kasperowicz And Entire Coaching Staff Will Not Return In Fall
“This wasn’t a one and done. We are definitely committed,” Harris said.