FRESNO, California (KGPE) — From Henrietta Lacks to the Tuskegee experiment, the African American community says there are reasons for them to doubt the authenticity of various medical treatments.
The African American Coalition is hoping to change that with their outreach on COVID-19 vaccines.
In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic closed down the United States economy. One year later, Anthony Bailey received his first COVID-19 shot, part one of two of the coronavirus vaccination.
Gaston Middle School hosted the clinic. The process started with a temperature check and then registration and check-in. Bailey said the center, which was set up by and staffed by the African American coalition, was well organized and had “a smooth flow through the check-in process.”
Several booths lined the walls, each one administering the injections.
Bailey’s first shot was administered by a retired nurse who he says was very welcoming and knowledgeable.
“Her explanation of the process added to my comfort level,” Bailey said.
“There you go,” the nurse says after administering the dose. Bailey said the shot was not unlike what he had experienced in the past with a flu shot.
After the shot, Bailey waited 15 minutes for his observation period, during which he was told how to register for the second dose using an app.
“The only thing I experienced out of the ordinary was a tender arm at the injection site,” Bailey said.
One Month Later
On April 1, Bailey returned for his second and final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. While the same multipurpose room at Gaston Middle School hosted Bailey’s second shot, the staffing was a different story.
“Although the faces were different, their level of service was just as great,” Bailey says this time greeted by Carla Stanley, a nurse who works in community health. She covered some of Bailey’s basic questions, then administered the second dose.
“The goal for us is to vaccinate thousands. Not just hundreds a day, but thousands,” Stanley said.
Educating the public is another integral part of what Stanley says is the goal of the team.
“They can feel safe knowing that when they get vaccinated and when they’re seated, that those individuals roaming around and these in these tents are clinically prepared to support them, whatever happens,” Stanley said.
Stanley says that alleviating vaccine hesitancy could ultimately mean saving lives.
“We understand their fears, we understand their reticence,” Stanley says.
Bailey wrapped up the process under the observation of a staff doctor before heading back to spring break with his family now fully vaccinated for COVID-19.