COVID-19 vaccinations Lancaster EMS

A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and a syringe containing the vaccine sit on a table at Lancaster EMS headquarters in East Lampeter Township on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. 

The COVID-19 vaccination rates for Blacks and Latinos continue to lag behind their white counterparts in Lancaster County, a fact organizers of 10 weekend clinics targeting communities of color seeks to remedy.

The clinics — six first-dose and six second-dose — will be held every weekend from 8:10 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Saturday and running through July 24. This weekend’s clinic is at the Mix at Arbor Place, 520 North St., Lancaster. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit www.healthequitylancaster.org. There is no phone number.

Patients must be at least 18 to be vaccinated because the clinics will be using the Moderna vaccine, which is not yet approved for minors.

In Lancaster County, 12.8% of Blacks and 26.7% of Latinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 compared to 34.7% of whites, according to Pennsylvania Department of Health data.

The vaccination percentages are significantly less for Asians (6.8%) and Native Americans (1.1%).

“In order for Lancaster (County) to move forward we need to move forward together,” said Dr. Cherise Hamblin, founder of Patients R Waiting, an initiative designed to address health disparities by increasing diversity in health care.

Hamblin added, “And if a large subset of our community is left behind, no one wins because the pandemic rages on.”

Patients R Waiting and Union Community Care are partnering to host the vaccination clinics.

“Both organizations have seen firsthand that Black, brown, and Latinx communities in Lancaster have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” Alisa Jones, Union Community Care president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “And now, those same communities are experiencing lower vaccination rates and higher hesitancy.”

A federally qualified health center, Union Community Care is part of a network of nonprofit organizations created to improve health care access in underserved communities. To date, it has vaccinated more than 4,000 people.

Free and open to the public, this weekend’s clinics will have a DJ and food giveaway from the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.

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