News spread quickly when Bethel AME Church announced that it would offer immunizations by appointment or in person.
âI didn’t expect to see so many people, but it’s great,â said Tony Hopkins, resident of Logan Heights.
Hopkins was among hundreds of people who received a COVID-19 vaccine during the event.
âWow, wow, this is what that looks like,â said Pastor Harvey Vaughn. “We registered 600 people but that number has skyrocketed.”
Bethel AME Church is one of the oldest churches in San Diego. He has been in the community for over 130 years. Vaughn says he thinks that’s part of the reason for such a large crowd.
âThis event is in the community and I think because it’s in the community people feel more comfortable because they know the Bethel Church,â said Pastor Vaughn.
But he admits that the long lines highlight a much bigger problem.
âIt also speaks to the demand for services in underserved communities,â said Pastor Vaughn.
The church is located near Logan Heights and serves a large black and brown community.
âCOVID has had a huge impact on this community,â said Pastor Vaughn. âWe saw a lot of people die. Two pastors of this church have died.
Yet many are still hesitant about the vaccine.
According to county data, only 47.2% of blacks in San Diego received a dose of the vaccine. This is compared to 63.9% of Whites, 71.1% of Asians and 72.7% of Latinos.
The event is an effort to boost immunizations among members of San Diego’s black community.
âAgain, it comes down to why we hold these community events,â said Robert Gillespie, MD, cardiologist at Sharp Rees-Stealy. âWe attract 600 people here because of this trust. “
Fight vaccine reluctance by trusting one San Diegan at a time.
Gillespie, a member of Joint Initiatives for Racial Equity in Health, is one of the organizers of the vaccine event.