Some Churches Host COVID-19 Shot Registration, Vaccination Clinics; Others Await Vaccines

All adult Texans are eligible for the vaccine as of Monday

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Texas health leaders say more than 6.8 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and about 3.5 million Texans are fully vaccinated.

Beginning Monday, about 22 million Texas residents became eligible to register for the shot.

In some places, churches are serving as registration or vaccination sites in hopes of reaching the most vulnerable people who may be wary of the vaccine or of the government.

Friendship-West Baptist Church is holding its first COVID-19 vaccination registration event in South Oak Cliff from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday.

The church is located at 2020 W. Wheatland Road in South Oak Cliff.

Church leaders said up to 3,000 people who register by 7 p.m. will receive their vaccine appointment for Tuesday, especially older individuals with underlying health conditions.

Others will receive their appointment by the end of the week.

The plan, initially, was to prioritize residents of "high-priority ZIP codes" -- areas of the city with a high number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

The hope of Monday’s event was to increase access and help when it comes to the registration process as well as easing concerns among the community, especially minorities.

“People who live in Black and brown communities just don’t trust governmental agencies and governmental processes,” said Alisha Trusty, chief strategist at Friendship-West. “Luckily, people can trust that the information we’re giving them is accurate. That we’re going to keep their best interest at heart.”

Houses of worship across Dallas-Fort Worth would like to help too.

“We all need to work together to increase access,” said Bill DeHaas of Dallas Area Interfaith.

Leaders of DAI, a coalition of congregations, said they were prepared to host vaccination clinics in hard-hit ZIP codes.

The congregations would partner with area hospitals or providers for the clinics.

But there’s one big problem.

“Our parishes and our leaders are ready to support, but we do not have enough vaccines,” said Yolanda Sifuentes of DAI.

The group has met with county leaders who have reportedly indicated an interest in church vaccination clinics when more vaccines arrive in Dallas.

“We did not get a timeline at all,” said Deborah Smith of DAI.

Church leaders believe entire families would be interested in driving to their local church for a vaccine, especially among the immigrant community, fearful of government sites like the massive clinic at Fair Park.

DAI expressed concern over delays in reaching vulnerable people.

“Time equals the loss of lives,” said Josephine Lopez Paul of DAI. “There is a sense of urgency that we need the state and the federal government to get more vaccine supply into our city.”

Fort Worth’s First Saint John Cathedral is hosting its second COVID-19 drive-thru vaccination clinic on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the church at 2401 East Berry Street.

The church partnered with Albertson’s Pharmacy to provide the vaccines and staff to administer the shots.

Appointments are requested, but Bishop Kenneth Bernard Spears said people would be able to register on the spot.

There are still some appointments available through Albertson’s. Click here for more information.

Spears said about 400 people were vaccinated against the virus last week.

The bishop, who has been vaccinated along with his family, said he trusted the vaccine’s safety and hoped others would too.

He also called on local and federal government agencies to reach out to places of worship to help increase the number of people vaccinated.

“You’ve got to trust churches to be a part,” he said. “We are in the community. Give us a chance to help out in that process.”

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