Trusted, neighborhood location may improve vaccination rates in West Louisville
“It feels wonderful”.
That was Andrea Moore’s reaction after receiving her first shot of COVID-19 vaccine at Whitney Young Elementary School. The JCPS school, near the corner of 35th and Muhammad Ali in West Louisville, is Louisville’s newest vaccination site. It’s a partnership between JCPS, The Humana Foundation and Norton Healthcare.
Moore showed up with her mother, Alma Penn, inside the school gym where the vaccination operation is set up. They held hands before receiving their shots together.
Moore lives less than 5 minutes from Young Elementary and has a daughter in fourth grade at the school. She didn’t know where to go to get vaccinated or how to sign up but got excited when she heard they were being offered at her daughter’s school.
“It made it very easy to go through with the shot. I know this school. I know the people here” she said.
That’s one of the reasons Norton wanted a vaccination site at a West Louisville school, according to Dr. Joe Flynn, Norton’s chief administrative officer.
“This school is a focal point for this community” Flynn said. “We were looking for a place West Louisville residents were familiar with to set up a vaccination site.”
Vaccination rates among African-Americans has trailed other racial and ethnic groups. Flynn hopes the outreach in the predominantly Black neighborhood will prompt more African-Americans to get vaccinated. He hopes the site will see a couple hundred people each day with the capacity to do 500 daily vaccinations.
Young’s principal, Erica Lawrence, hopes opening her school will encourage more of her students’ family members to get vaccinated. She says many families are keeping kids at home doing virtual learning because they fear a return to the classroom could result in them bringing COVID-19 into their multi-generational homes.
“This is a great opportunity for our school families to have a shot of courage and help their children and grandchildren reopen the door to their childhood….to see their friends and teachers in person” she said.
Jefferson County School Board chairwoman Diane Porter watched the vaccination process in the gym. She represents the neighborhoods around Young Elementary.
“Schools are full of hope” she said. “Hope and opportunity not just for the students we’re educating here at Young Elementary and elsewhere, but for the entire community”.
Leslie Pryor’s mother works for JCPS and encouraged her to get the vaccine. She “wouldn’t go to a health care facility or someplace else” to get the shot but felt good coming to the school in her neighborhood.
“I’m more trusting of coming to a school” Pryor said, adding “and it’s convenient.”
To set up an appointment people can call 1-888-777-7219 or visit NortonHealthcare.com. Some walk-ins are accepted and nobody will be turned away because they lack proper identification, according to Dr. Flynn.