On Feb. 13, Howard Brown Health hosted a citywide vaccination blitz at five community partner locations (New Beginnings Church of Chicago; 6620 S. King Dr.; Trinity United Church of Christ/TUCC; 400 W. 95th St.; Rising Sun Baptist Church; 820 N. Central Ave.; National Museum of Mexican Art; 1852 W. 19th St.; and Loyola Park; 1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.). At those locations, Howard Brown vaccinated 2,000 people in the 1(b) distribution category, as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Infectionat no cost to those receiving the vaccines.
Howard Brown Health Chief Operating Officer Ken Griffin told Windy City Times said the rollout went smoothly and that the second vaccines will be administered at the same five locations on March 13.
When asked if he felt that articles about racial minorities being reluctant to receive vaccinations were accurate (and noting that most of the vaccine sites are in Black and Latinx areas of the city), Griffin said, "Of course I felt they are true. Being a person of color, I understand the relationship we have with the healthcare community. However, that's why I got into healthcare. I am part of the Black and Brown population; I want them to see like me are making decisions for their care. If you see someone who looks like me, you're more apt to be part of a system to make sure you're being treated fairly.
"If you look at our statistics from over the weekend, 50% of the people who got vaccinated were Black, 10% were Latinx and 13% were mixed-race, so [most] of the people who came in were people of color."
Griffin added, "Latinos are being disproportionately affectedand I've told people that if the state or city won't, Howard Brown will. We are setting up mass-vaccination sites in underserved areas. If you think about equitywhich is really different from equalityit is about providing the same resources for those who are in need, and we are going to those areas and giving them the same access to care that everyone else should get."
Griffin also stated that when vaccinations are available to all, Howard Brown will expand its services: "We are doing as much as we can with what we receive." (By the way, regarding people who have HIV/AIDS, Griffin stated that they needn't take different precautions than people with other conditions or illnesses.)
In conclusion, Griffin told WCT, "Vaccinations are important, but we still have to practice social distancing, remember [proper] hygiene and still wear a mask. Vaccinations are only one part of the treatment regarding the pandemic.
"We focus on the whole person. We want to make sure that everyone has access to primary care. At Howard Brown, we don't want to just take care of you for your COVID-related concerns, but your primary-care ones as well."
See HowardBrown.org/covid-19/vaccine/ for ongoing updates regarding vaccination appointments at Howard Brown Health.