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'I don't want to get sick' | Underserved communities find solutions to get the COVID-19 vaccine in their own backyard

A church has become a COVID-19 vaccination site in South Stockton.

STOCKTON, Calif. — A South Stockton church is taking action to help increase the odds of people of color receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Progressive Community Church reached out to the San Joaquin County Public Health Department to set up a clinic right inside their doors.

74-year-old Dorothy Williams is not at all hesitant to get her COVID-19 vaccine. "Because I don't want to get sick," explained Williams.

She came to stand in line at a vaccine clinic at Progressive Community Church. In one of the area's underserved communities, Williams says it's much needed.

"A lot of people around here don't have ways to get around," said Williams. 

According to data from the California Department of Public Health, over 32% of the vaccine distributed so far has gone to white people, 16% to Latinos, 13% to Asian Americans and just below 3% to Black people.

"That's one of the reasons why the leadership of this church, we made ourselves available and said, okay, how could we collaborate to make sure those who are underrepresented have a chance to take the vaccine," said Glenn Shields, Pastor of Progressive Community Church. 

1,800 doses have been given out at the church since Wednesday. Second doses will be given out later next month. However, getting the vaccine into anyone's arms remains a tall order. The overall issue of vaccine supply continues to be a problem across the board.

"The state has told the public you can get vaccinated if you're 65, if you're food and ag, if you're a teacher, child care worker, law enforcement," said San Joaquin County Public Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park. "And, that's great, but we would like to get enough to actually vaccinate all of those groups. We don't have the supply coming in that we would like to have."

That's why those like Terry Edmond, an African-American, feel fortunate to get the vaccine and close to his own backyard.

"And, I got a brother at home that's a double amputee," said Edmond. "He's legally blind so anyway I can get him protected is important."

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