Written by guest writer Shaili Shouche, Avenue Intern and incoming senior at Glenda Dawson High School.
As Covid-19 vaccination rollout pushes on in full force, with vaccination being approved and recommended for individuals 12 and over, it has become increasingly clear that specific demographics are being excluded from the vaccination process. More specifically, older adults in communities that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic face numerous barriers that prevent them from participating in vaccination. Lack of transportation, lack of mobility, and even sheer lack of resources to aid with the vaccination process as a whole are just a few examples of significant obstacles that stop groups that are the most vulnerable from being able to protect themselves and their health from the raging pandemic.
In an effort to alleviate these vaccination barriers locally, Avenue partnered with the United Memorial Medical Center as well as Catania Apartments, an apartment complex that serves senior citizens in the community. On Friday, April 16th, nurses from United Memorial Medical Center aided in administering the first dose of the Pfizer Coronavirus vaccine to 34 seniors who lived in the apartment complex, all of whom faced various challenges in getting vaccinated elsewhere.
However, the event encapsulated more than simply providing vaccination. In addition, each vaccine recipient was given refreshment goody bags in order to assist with vaccine recovery.
21 days later, on May 7th, the team was back to administer the second Pfizer dose. At this event, a safety survey was also conducted to learn more about the community’s primary safety needs so that Avenue could provide necessary future assistance to the area.
All in all, this COVID-19 vaccination drive was the first event of its kind that Avenue has hosted in the Northline neighborhood. This event serves as a blueprint for larger vaccine drives in the community, as a way to help individuals who are unable to get vaccinated elsewhere get protected from the pandemic.
Susse Treviño, a community volunteer with Avenue, said “Volunteering with Avenue for the Catania Apartments Vaccination Event was a rewarding experience. I was able to witness how desperately this Vaccination event was needed for these residents. The majority of the seniors depended on METRO for transportation and this proved a big hindrance for them in getting the vaccine in any other way. I was very grateful to have had the opportunity to help in the fight against COVID-19 in our community.”