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UofL Health, Norton Healthcare host pop-up vaccine sites in underserved communities

Each hospital has partnered with churches to get the word out about vaccines for people 70 and older in their congregations.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Hospitals want to reach underserved communities, many of which have been hit hard by COVID-19.

Instead of administering vaccinations at the hospital or drive thru sites, both Norton Healthcare and UofL Health are branching out to churches to provide vaccinations in neighborhoods for people 70+. 

Friday, Norton Healthcare held a clinic at Bates Memorial Baptist Church, and UofL held one at Community Missionary Baptist Church in the Newburg neighborhood.

Partnering with church communities will reach people who might not know how to sign up for a vaccine.

“The things we’ve done in mass to try to get a many people vaccinated, it involved a lot of technology,” Norton VP of Operations Craig Johnson said. “It involves maybe making an appointment online.”

This pop-up clinic removes barriers, one being online registration. Instead, churches are signing up their members. Norton pop up sites even take walk ins, as long as you are eligible for the vaccine.

However, this hospital is not only providing vaccines. It is providing these churches with education, like videos or zoom Q&A where members of the congregation can find out more about the vaccine.  

UofL will also be doing another of other pop up sites in the coming weeks.

A pop-up clinic has other benefits too.

“Our goal by doing this, it removes maybe a transportation barrier,” Johnson said. 

RELATED: Beshear: Kentucky "very close" in moving to Phase 1C of vaccination plan

UofL has reached out to a number of churches to partner with and works with the churches to set up times for vaccinations.

“We’ve learned through the disproportionate impact COVID has had on specific communities that these are the communities we need to do more for,” UofL Health Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Edward Miller said. “So we need to go out. We need to bring our resources, our vaccine, our people, our expertise with us, and we need to do our part.”

UofL Health is not only providing vaccines. It is providing these churches with education, like videos or zoom Q&A where members of the congregation can find out more about the vaccine.  

Norton Healthcare clinics are a partnership with the city and state. Governor Beshear says prioritizing fairness and equitable access to vaccines is a priority.

“We are going to ensure that so many in our underserved population get this shot of hope and are able to spread this shot of hope to others in their community,” the governor said.

Throughout the process of giving vaccinations, Norton and UofL are learning how to best connect with everybody in the community – that includes meeting them where they live.  

“We plan to do more as well, just to remove barriers for folks to make it as easy as possible to get vaccinated,” Johnson said.

►Contact reporter Rose McBride at rmcbride@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter. 

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