Chapel in the Pines to host bilingual vaccination clinic Sunday

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CHAPEL HILL — The Hispanic Liaison and Better Care, a Greensboro-based medical provider, will hold a bilingual vaccination clinic at Chapel in the Pines on Sunday, May 23.

From 2 to 6 p.m., the event will offer about 200 vaccine doses — 100 each of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. They’ll also have an additional 50 to 60 doses on standby in case demand exceeds supply, according to the Hispanic Liaison’s COVID-19 project manager, Will Mendoza. The clinic’s ultimate goal, he said, is to vaccinate at least 100 people.

“If there’s more, the more the merrier, but the goal will be to get 100,” Mendoza told the News + Record. “... If we need more vaccines, they’ll become available. People won’t have to wait for another event, or an hour or two.”

The clinic’s vaccine provider, Better Care, he added, told partners they had the capability to obtain and transport more vaccine doses if it turns out that more than 200 people attend.

“I don’t think, you know, 600 people are gonna show up,” he said. “It will be short by a large amount, but they said that they will be able to react if we need more vaccines, which is great.”

Staff bilingual in English and Spanish will be volunteering at the event and registering people. To schedule an appointment, interested Spanish speakers can call the Hispanic Liaison at 919-742-1448, while English speakers can call Better Care at 336-617-9333. No appointment is necessary.

Upon registering or walking up, Mendoza said people will be asked for their names, addresses and birthdates. That information allows providers to confirm when people are due for their second doses and to ensure no one misses their second shots. ID isn’t required, though Mendoza recommended that residents bring an ID if they have it.

“I tell people you don’t need a document to register,” he said, “but if I were them, I would make sure that the names are properly written and properly spelled and clearly established because I don’t know if that vaccination card is going to hold more weight in the future than it does now.”

Vaccinations will be administered at Chapel in the Pines, a presbyterian church located on 314 Great Ridge Parkway in the “Chatham part” of Chapel Hill. It’s near the Walmart off of U.S. 15-501, and according to Mendoza, the church will have signs to make it easier for people to find.

Anyone is welcome at the clinic, but the event particularly seeks to vaccinate underserved communities, Mendoza said — specifically minority and rural communities. That’s why they chose to host a vaccination clinic on a Sunday.

“We have heard from the community that weekdays are tough,” he said, adding, “A lot of our community members work for eight hours a full-time job on a Saturday, and they’re trying to make it to the event at the end, at 2 o’clock or 3 o’clock after their jobs, but sometimes it’s hard. We’re hoping that by doing it on a Sunday, it becomes more available to people.”

They also chose to offer the Pfizer and J&J vaccines for the same reason. The FDA has issued authorized providers to administer the Pfizer vaccine to those 12 years and up.

“For families who have younger adults in their household, high school seniors, high school juniors,” he said, “this could be an opportunity to get vaccinated as a family in one go, everybody.”

And despite recent suspension and issues surrounding blood clots, Mendoza said the J&J remains the most practical option for many migrant farm workers. Many, he said, just don’t know if they’ll be available or able to return for their second shots three or four weeks later.

“They could be working, but also they may not be in this area at this farm in a month from now,” he said. “ … So sure if that’s the only thing available — two doses — you know, they try to accommodate, but if there is an option for one shot that gives them a fighting chance against COVID, they’ll take it.”

If the Sunday clinic attracts a lot of people, Mendoza said he thinks it might signal to providers to begin moving vaccination clinics from Saturdays to Sundays.

“We’re just trying to break down all the barriers that people are having to get their vaccines,” he said, “and hopefully doing it this way, it’s another way to make it easier for people.”

Reporter Victoria Johnson can be reached at victoria@chathamnr.com.

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