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Local churches playing part in effort to reach more communities with COVID-19 testing, vaccine

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 4:25 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - While Sedgwick County continues to get a regular shipment of COVID-19 vaccines, it’s also continuing to work on partnerships to reach more communities, especially minority groups. In the effort to expand and reach more groups that are deemed underserved in Sedgwick County, three northeast Wichita churches are playing a part in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that people of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Even though this is the case, minority communities seem to be getting the shot at lower rates. The Sedgwick County Health Department is trying to reach more people, including African Americans. To help in that effort, this month, Tabernacle Bible Church, near 18th and Volutsia, will host both COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites.

“It’s a matter of life and death, so it’s no small matter,” said Tabernacle Bible Church Senior Pastor Lincoln Montgomery. “So to me, it’s a significant step in our commitment to spiritual health and physical health of this community.”

Free testing at Tabernacle Bible Church is set for Wednesday (March 3). University United Methodist Church at 21st and Yale is serving as a free-testing site on Thursday (March 4). For several months, Tabernacle has served as a COVID-19 mobile testing site.

“There are a number of underserved zip codes in our community,” Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne said. “(We are) definitely wanting to make sure that we reach Black and Hispanic communities, as well as just the general community.”

In partnership with the Wichita Black Nurses Association and African American churches, there will be pop-up vaccination clinics this month in northeast Wichita. Those will be held the next two Sunday afternoons: March 7 at St. James Missionary Baptist Church at 13th and Ash and March 14 at Tabernacle Bible Church.

Information on pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site at Tabernacle Bible Church in Wichita, Kansas.
Information on pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site at Tabernacle Bible Church in Wichita, Kansas.(Tabernacle Bible Church)

“I think it’s helpful that people that they trust are suggesting not only to get their vaccine, but we have all taken it as well,” Montgomery said.

He said he hopes that each person makes the best choice for themselves regarding the vaccine. With that, he’s hopeful that more people are vaccinated with more pop-up locations. If you’re 65 and older, you can book an appointment to get vaccinated March 7 at St. James Baptist Church or March 14 at Tabernacle Bible Church.

You can reach St. James Baptist at 316-265-6301 and Tabernacle at 316-681-3954.

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