Health organizations are taking COVID-19 vaccination clinics into the community.
Great Lakes Bay Health Centers, which operates community health clinics and mobile clinics across the region, has opened vaccinations at its clinics to anyone 18 and older. The organization has run a clinic at New Birth Missionary Baptist Cathedral in Saginaw for appointments and walk-ins. It distributed its first doses at the church clinic on March 13 and March 20 to those 40 and older.
“We want to save lives,” said Angelia Williams, director of special projects Great Lakes Bay Health Centers. “As a nurse, people should know that this vaccine saves your life, it reduces your risk of getting COVID or it reduces your risk of severe illness related to COVID-19 virus by taking the vaccine.”
As of April 27, 730,224 people who live or work in Saginaw County have received at least one vaccine dose, according to Saginaw County Health Department, and 51,969 residents are fully vaccinated. The county has an estimated population of 149,827 adults 18 and older, according to U.S. Census data.
According to a March survey by the Pew Research Center, 69% of American adults say they have or intend to get vaccinated. That’s up from 60% who planned to get vaccinated according to a November survey.
“No.1 is we want everyone, first of all, to be educated,” said Williams, who serves as one of the lead coordinators for implementing neighborhood COVID community health education and outreach services for the Great Lakes Bay Health Centers. “They need to know scientific knowledge about the vaccines before they take them and so one of our goals is to educate the community on how important it is to get vaccinated and the science behind the vaccination.”
On the New Birth Missionary Baptist clinic’s first day of distributing the Moderna vaccine, on March 13, close to 200 vaccines were administered.
Darliane Green-Blackmon, a Saginaw native who works for the Saginaw Board of Education, received her first dose of the Moderna shot in March.
“I decided to get the vaccine because I wanted to be protected when I am around my family and the people whom I work with,” Green-Blackmon said.
Blackmon said she had some pain in her arm after the first shot and then felt lumps underneath her arm that caused what she described as, “steaming pain.” Later that night when she was getting ready for bed, she experienced back pain as well, which prompted her to contact her doctor.
“My doctor explained to me that based on me having the hormone patch for hot flashes, it’s common in ladies that their lymph nodes would swell,” she said. “If I was to take an aspirin or Tylenol, that would take the inflammation away — and it did.
“So, after that I had no other symptoms or side effects.”
Luther Harris, 52, a Saginaw native who received his shot at the Veteran Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Ann Arbor, said he was reluctant at first to get the vaccine.
“I was really hesitant, and I questioned the quick development and I doubted it to be effective,” Harris said.
However, after doing his own research, he had a change of heart. He said he only had a temporary sting in his arm from first dose and no side effects after the second dose.
“I want to live longer, and I want to protect others and allow them to live longer too,” he said.