In honor of Minority Health Month and in an effort to encourage COVID-19 vaccine participation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has teamed up with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners for an appointment-only vaccination event tomorrow, April 10, at Valor Flagship Academy (4527 Nolensville Pike).
Pfizer vaccines will be administered at the event, which will take place from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Five-hundred people are expected to receive vaccines, the majority of them being from Nashville’s Latinx and Kurdish communities. Appointments for the event were filled through outreach by the community partners Valor and the Amed Clinic.
AANP president-elect April Kapu tells the Scene that after administering thousands of vaccines to those who were eager to be vaccinated, she noticed other members of the population showed hesitancy.
“Some people don’t have a lot of trust in people they don’t know, or they may not have an established relationship with a health care provider,” Kapu says. “They really need to hear from a community leader they trust, or a family member.”
Some members of the undocumented-immigrant community have exhibited hesitancy toward being vaccinated for fear of being turned in to law enforcement. But AANP is working to highlight the ongoing efforts to address these disparities.
Language barriers also present obstacles. VUMC and VALOR recognize these issues, and from the information gathered during registration, they have recruited various volunteers from diverse backgrounds to help assist people who speak Arabic, Spanish and Kurdish.
Their effort also includes mobile vaccination clinics in urban areas, to ensure that populations hesitant to receive the vaccine are well-informed and able to make an educated decision for themselves. Kapu helped lead door-to-door vaccine scheduling with nurse practitioner students in the aforementioned communities.
According to COVID community project implementation coordinator Christian Ketel, actively going into a community and spreading information and resources creates a stronger and more trustworthy bond between community members and health care officials, and only encourages vaccinations.
“A lot of people think COVID is going away, but COVID is not going away,” says Kapu. “It’s still here. It’s continuing to grow and mutate. … Only about 25 percent of our population in Tennessee is vaccinated, so we still have a long way to go.”