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'I want to be here for my grandkids' | West end event aims to vaccinate Black Louisvillians

Volunteers of America hosted the event, to try and bridge a gap in vaccination rates for African Americans.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tuesday night in west Louisville, residents got a vaccine and a shot at thousands of dollars in gift cards, plus a free show from Real Young Prodigies. 

Tammy Mason went to get her booster shot. "I want to be here for my grandkids," she told WHAS11 News.

Volunteers of America hosted the event, to try and bridge a gap in vaccination rates for African Americans.

"Unfortunately we do have a history of distrust in the African American community. And rightfully so, so hopefully by bringing these vaccinations here to the African American community, we will create a safe space for them," Dr. Janikaa Sherrod said.

The "West Lou Vaccine Event" featured three drawings for $1,500 prizes and $50 gift cards for the first 50 individuals to get vaccinated.

After Thanksgiving, Kentucky is already seeing a slight increase in cases. Experts said it is likely tied to travel and unvaccinated people. 

"All of the things we knew about going into the holiday weekend to be concerned about, that's probably what we are seeing currently with our own area," Chief Medical Officer at UofL Health Dr. Jason Smith said.

With the majority of counties in our area still in the red zone - he says they got the equipment they need if hospitalizations increase. 

Dr. Smith said, "Things are a little bit more mothballed because we haven't needed them but we do have that in place, we've got plenty of PPE, we've got plenty of vaccines as well as the monoclonal antibody." 

Over the weekend, the number of patients at Norton hospital went up over 20%, according to System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steve Hester. "Of those, 29 are in the intensive care unit and 11 are on ventilators," Dr. Hester said.

Of their current patients, 90% of those hospitalizations are unvaccinated people. 

The latest state data shows 80% of adults in Jefferson County are vaccinated, a whole 8 points above the state average of 72%. 

► Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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