GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Black organizations and West Michigan hospitals spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day working to reach more people with COVID-19 vaccines.
“I think everyone who is getting vaccinated is doing mankind a favor and I think Dr. King would be very proud of them,” 14-year-old Phoenix Moyer said.
More than 40 people of all ages and backgrounds were able to get their first, second and booster shots at Brown-Hutcherson Ministries. In addition, people were also able to get their blood pressures checked.
Area teens were among the crowd who got vaccinated. Armand Moyer, 16, said he was inspired to protect the community.
“We are just young people doing what most adults should be doing,” Moyer said.
Several groups partnered to host the clinic, including the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, Grand Rapids Black Nurses Association and Black sororities and fraternities. Area hospitals also participated including Spectrum Health, Mercy Health and University of Michigan Health-West, which administered the vaccines.
“We chose today because we thought that there was no better time to do it than in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Vanessa Greene, the CEO of the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, said. “Many people don’t understand that health advocacy was one of his greatest passions. To be able to do this on this day as we are celebrating his legacy is very meaningful to us, the organizations, and the community.”
The collaboration is part of an initiative to help boost vaccinations in minority communities. A $700,000 grant was awarded to Spectrum Health last year to address the issue. Health leaders appointed people of color in Grand Rapids and Muskegon to create vaccination committees in each town.
The committee hopes to target more teens and young adults in future events.
“We see that importance because they are out interacting and moving and the fact that we are vaccinated we can move together,” Lee Moyer said.
There will be another clinic at Brown-Hutcherson Ministries on Feb. 7 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
If you would like to make an appointment, you can contact the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute at 616-331-5831. COVID-19 vaccines are always free.