PUBLIC-PRIVATE COALITION LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO EDUCATE BLACK COMMUNITY ON IMPORTANCE OF FLU VACCINATION

Pastors, Health Advocates, City Leaders Band Together to Raise Awareness During Unusual Year

Baltimore, MD (October 14, 2020) – The National Minority Quality Forum, along with leaders from Baltimore churches, community, health professionals, and City boosters have come together to develop a pilot program that will raise awareness for flu vaccination as Baltimore prepares for what could be a difficult flu season ahead.  The Black communities in Baltimore and Prince Georges County have a lower rate of flu vaccination compared to the rest of the state of Maryland. This coalition has come together to educate the community about the benefits of a flu vaccine and where to get one this Fall.

“The one-two punch of Covid-19 and the flu, makes getting the word out about the importance of vaccination even more critical,” said Reverend Dr. Terris King, Pastor of Liberty Grace Church of God and CEO, King Enterprise Group, LLC.  “It is time to change the perception and make it clear why we need to vaccinate when the flu vaccine becomes readily available in the coming weeks.”

The National Minority Quality Forum’s Center for Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity (SHC) has joined together with the Baltimore City Health Department and the International Vaccine Access Center at  Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to offer flu vaccine clinics adjacent to two Baltimore City churches in the coming weeks.  The first clinic is scheduled for October 17, 9am-1pm at Southern Baptist Church, church at 1701 N. Chester Street.  The rate of Covid-19 illness and death is high in the Black community, which is even more reason for these communities to protect against the flu.  Bringing the clinics to the churches in a safe outdoor location can provide parishioners with a further sense of comfort during a trying time.

Dr. Stephen Thomas, director of the Maryland Center of Health Equity, along with members of the barbershop wellness initiative “The Health Advocates In-Reach and Research,” (HAIR) also will be working to better understand community views of flu vaccination and COVID-19, providing positive information.

“Older adults and people with chronic conditions are much more vulnerable to influenza and COVID-19 and people of color are much less likely to get a flu vaccine”  ” said Laura Lee Hall, President of SHC.   “Working with trusted community voices such as the Clergy in Baltimore City and barbers throughout Prince Georges County and Baltimore will help assure that the community shapes health promoting solutions.”

For more information, call Maryland Access Point at 410-396-CARE (2273), visit  https://health.baltimorecity.gov/flu to see a map of places offering flu shots in Baltimore City or visit https://nmqf-shc.org/flu-vaccination/ for more information.

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About Flu Vaccine Pilot Program

Religious partners in the program include Reverend Dr. Terris King, Pastor of Liberty Grace Church of God and CEO, King Enterprise Group, LLC; Bishop J. L. Carter, Ark Church President, Ministers Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity; Reverend Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr., D. Min., Ph. D. ,Senior Pastor Union Baptist Church; Bishop Donté L. Hickman, Sr., Southern Baptist Church; Pastor Michael Phillips Senior, Pastor of Kingdom Life Church; Reverend Pamula D. Yerby-Hammack, Executive Pastor, City of Abraham Church and Ministries. In addition to Laura Lee Hall, other healthcare partners include Lois Privor-Dumm, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Sandra Crouse Quinn, PhD, Maryland Center for Health Equity School of Public Health, University of Maryland; Stephen B. Thomas, PhD, Maryland Center of Health Equity, University of Maryland, School of Public Health.