COVID-19 health emergency is ending but faith-based vaccine clinics continue

by | May 10, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — The U.S. COVID-19 public health emergency declared under President Donald Trump on Jan. 31, 2020, may be ending on Thursday (May 11), but across the country faith-based groups that provide health care to communities of color say the availability of vaccinations remains important, even if the number of shots they administer is declining.“I do not believe that we can turn and walk away and say, ‘Hey, OK, we have COVID under control so now let’s just pack up our tools and go home,’” said the Rev. James L. Patterson, CEO of the Partnership of African American Churches in Charleston, West Virginia. “No, we need to continue to deal with the health outcomes that people are suffering.”
The PAAC coordinates with other churches, Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and several universities to provide vaccines at 15 clinic locations.

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Patterson said his organization has received $7.2 million in funding from federal, state and private sources to help provide vaccines and testing over the last three years. With the slowing of COVID-19 cases, he hopes the partnership, which has already been providing flu shots and glucose and blood pressure checks, will be able to expand to address wider health problems.
Community members receive vaccinations at a location organized by the Partnership of African American Churches in Charleston, West Virginia. Photo courtesy of PAAC
“COVID is just the latest pandem …

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