Logan Heights church helps in push to get more Black San Diegans vaccinated

Posted at 12:35 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 15:35:37-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues throughout San Diego County, experts say there is one group that is still falling behind other communities when it comes to getting the shots.

A local nurses association says it has been a challenge getting vaccines to Blacks in San Diego County, but a church in Logan Heights is working to help change that.

Bethel AME Church (3085 K St.) in San Diego opened its doors Friday morning to help in the effort to vaccinate Black San Diegans.

There were a limited number of doses -- up to 200 -- available at the church on Friday, and appointments were required before heading to the church.

The clinic at the church is abiding by county vaccine guidelines, as recipients must be 65 years of age or older.

Experts say communities of color across the U.S. are too often not getting the doses they need. Factors such as distrust of the government and accessibility have prompted a national push to rectify the situation.

The San Diego Black Nurses Association, who administered the shots at the church on Friday, says that in terms of vaccination rates in the county, only just over 2 percent of Black residents have received the shots.

“Our focus is on high-risk groups. We know that if you look at the super stations and other sites, we have a very difficult time getting African-Americans to visit those, for a number of reasons including internet access and hesitancy. When we have our own community events, it’s hard getting people out. That why we’re doing it in our in our communities,” Robert Gillespie, medical director of the San Diego Black Nurses Association.

Starting Monday, March 1, the church will be offering COVID-19 testing as part of a partnership with other faith-based groups and churches around California.

The goal is to provide 150 tests per day through June 30.