Anacostia coordinating council works to vaccinate neighbors
In an alley of Anacostia, Wendell whren and Valerie Davis sit on two folding chairs in the shade. On their knees, they hold clipboards detailing the day’s tasks after a morning meeting in a backyard in Ward 7. Both are supervisors of the Anacostia Coordinating Council, which works with the mayor. Muriel bowserto encourage residents of wards 7 and 8 to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We have different people from different walks of life who have been through different things,” says Whren. “Different motivating factors to get them to be vaccinated. We use that to kind of encourage people who are worried or who may have reasons why they don’t want to be vaccinated.
It is a monumental and necessary task. DC Health estimates that 72.7% of residents aged 12 and older have been partially or fully immunized, which is higher than the national average. The percentage of each ward’s eligible population that is fully immunized ranges between 47 percent and 58 percent, with the exception of wards 7 and 8, where data from DC Health shows 37 percent and 32 percent are fully immunized. vaccinated, respectively.
These disparities in coverage have persisted for months and are rooted in both access issues and hesitations stemming from the historic and ongoing mistreatment of Black residents in the health care system.
ACC increases these numbers by going door-to-door in both services. In groups of at least two, the team members walk up to their neighbors’ steps and ask them if they would like to be vaccinated. If they do, they will enter the resident’s information and someone else will schedule an appointment and even plan a ride for them. Whren says he’s heard a wide range of responses about why they didn’t get the vaccine, but the main factor is that many don’t trust the vaccine.
“Religious reasons, scientific reasons, we’ve heard a plethora of reasoning,” says Whren. “People say things like, ‘Well how did they come up with a corona vaccine so quickly? When has HIV been around for all these years? They say things like, “Well, the people who get the virus now are the ones who have been vaccinated. “
The ACC task has become even more important due to the rise of the delta variant in DC and across the country. Although the mutated virus has pierced and infected some fully vaccinated individuals, the vast majority of new cases of COVID-19 are among the unvaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control also advertises the vaccine as being very effective in reducing symptoms of COVID-19 and preventing hospital stays or death. Nationwide reports show that hospitalization rates for those vaccinated are only around zero to 0.01 percent.
Despite these figures, some residents of wards 7 and 8 are still hesitant to get vaccinated. Another organizer, Stuart anderson, points out that one of the groups they focus on is young people.
“A lot of these people are also part of our younger population,” he said. “So with the rise of this delta… variation of the virus, you know, it’s even more important to have teams like a team that I have.”
Mayor Bowser’s office is also pushing to get young people vaccinated, especially in wards 7 and 8. List reports that residents aged 12 to 17 in wards 7 and 8 have vaccination rates of 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively. The city encourages the vaccination of young people by offering prizes in certain vaccination places. District youth ages 12 to 17 can win prizes like a $ 51 VISA gift card or a pair of Apple AirPods. They will also participate in a raffle that could earn them an iPad or even a purse of $ 25,000.
When asked why she does this job, Davis replies that she has always been a caregiver. Whren says Davis even carries a cooler of cold water to make sure his team members stay hydrated.
“I have always been a caring person. And I’ve been blessed with this cause, you know, everybody’s got something that God has blessed you with. she said. “I believe in loving and caring for others. “
Whren says he appreciates the opportunity to give back to the community after serving a decade in prison.
“It’s one of the things that motivates me, is that my past does not prevent me from being able to save lives. When we go online every morning, that’s what they ask us, “Are you ready to save lives?” And my answer is always yes.
“I always let people know, ‘I took the hit. And I’m fine. I’m here to knock on doors and take pictures because I want people to see our team. We are here saving lives. This is the whole story. And I think we’ve done a great job in doing that.
– Bailey Vogt (advice? [email protected])
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