Aug 23, 2021 · 2 min read
Restoring Vaccine Trust in Montgomery, Alabama
A grassroots approach to vaccine education and access holds keys for helping communities overcome health inequality.
The Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, has been a multifaceted community resource for residents long before COVID-19, providing residents in need with food and other resources. When the pandemic struck, those efforts kicked into overdrive.
It began with a drive-up food pantry. At the height of the pandemic, the church was providing free food to more than 1,000 people each week. The church also helped residents get health screenings and COVID-19 tests. But as COVID-19 vaccines began to roll out across the nation, the church saw that many residents who most needed protection against the virus weren’t getting it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most counties in Alabama had less than a 30% vaccination rate as of July — less than half the national rate of about 70%.
Nonprofit organizations, Partners in Health and ideas42, began reaching out to religious organizations, including the Metropolitan United Methodist Church, to partner together in ensuring their communities had access to the vaccine.
The church leveraged its longstanding community trust and joined the launch of the Get Out the Vaccine initiative. The program educates residents about the vaccine and helps residents sign up for appointments.
The initiative not only helps communities gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine, but also seeks input from residents as to how it can further its mission.
Watch the video to learn more about how these nonprofit organizations and community leaders work together to boost vaccine coverage and help residents navigate pandemic-related challenges.