GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As more COVID-19 vaccines become available and more people become eligible, officials say there still isn’t equal access for everyone in the community. 

“We’ve heard a lot that going online to register for a vaccine is challenging to some populations because of literacy and language and different things like that,” said Brian Hartl, an epidemiologist with the Kent County Health Department. 

He says working with trusted partners is the key to not only getting people educated about the vaccine but also informing them of where and when they can get it. 

“There’s large vaccination sites downtown at DeVos center and at 700 Fuller — sometimes those sites aren’t ideal for people. They’re not accessible. They’re not used to going downtown, so we really want to bring the vaccine to them, the places that they’re familiar with and really to work with our community organizations and our partners to remove those barriers of registration,” Hartl said. 

One organizations the health department is working with is A Glimpse of Africa, a nonprofit that works to make sure African immigrants and refugees are represented in the community. 

“To be able to get to every corner of Grand Rapids or Kent County to reach everybody would be a little harder, so we reached out to other community leaders, church leaders,” the organization’s founder Fridah Kanini said.

Together, Kanini and the health department are hosting a free African Community vaccine clinic on Tuesday at the Kent County clinic in Kentwood. Those eligible include anyone 65 and older, people 50 and older with underlying health conditions and food processing and agriculture workers.

The clinic will take place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 4700 Kalamazoo Avenue SE. Pre-registration is required before the event. To register, send a message to one of the email addresses on the flyer below.