As the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan gets more complex access is getting harder to come by for some of Tulsa’s underserved communities.
One Hope Ministry at the Rose Bowl in Tulsa changed that for more than 1,000 Tulsans Wednesday by offering free vaccinations through a partnership with IMMY Labs.
Miriam Boone, the executive director of One Hope, understands the barriers some people have to medical care, and bringing the vaccine directly to the area gives community members access to protections from the virus.
“If you say, ‘We want to get you vaccinated from COVID-19, but you have to have the tech savvy to access this website over and over and you may get an appointment here; you may get it across the state,’ there are certain people who are not able to access the transportation to go through that vaccine process,” Boone said. “We’re trying to look at how we can make that simpler so all of our neighbors, all of our communities get the vaccine they need.”
One Hope and IMMY Labs, a Norman-based diagnostics manufacturer that started vaccine “pods” during the pandemic to bring the vaccine to communities in Oklahoma, gave out over 1,000 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine Wednesday.
One Tulsa woman who received the vaccine at the event, Carol Ainsworth, hopes to set an example for others in her community.
“People aren’t taking this (pandemic) serious,” Ainsworth said. “It’s how we got to this point.”
She said she understands why people in her community would be suspicious of vaccines because of historic discrimination and racism in the science and medical field. Instances like the Tuskegee syphilis study add to distrust in Black communities of the government, but Ainsworth said times change and science and technology can help people.
“It’s our only hope at this point,” Ainsworth said of the vaccine. “The only control you have is taking it. It’s the only chance we have at beating this.”
Ainsworth works for an after-school program that was forced to go virtual because of the pandemic, and she said she hopes enough people will take the vaccination to make it safe to go back in person to work with the students.
Those who received the first dose of the vaccine at the Rose Bowl were automatically signed up to receive the second dose at an event on Feb. 24, three weeks from the first dose event, at the Rose Bowl.
More guidance for Oklahomans signing up through the state COVID-19 vaccine portal during Phase 2