Birmingham-area groups join forces to raise vaccination rates

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 5:42 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As the Delta variant continues to spread across Alabama, several groups are pleading for more people to get vaccinations. The groups include various nurses associations, as well as Black sororities and fraternities who said people are still hesitant to get shots.

Birmingham City Council President William Parker joined the groups at a news conference Monday. The speakers said they are disappointed with Alabama’s low vaccination rate. “We have been battling COVID-19 since March of 2020 but we are still in this fight,” Parker said.

Alabama only has about 34% of the state fully vaccinated. The head of the Alabama State Nurses Association encouraged all healthcare workers who are reluctant to get the shots to get them. “Our citizens, our healthcare workers to gain greater knowledge of COVID-19 and the vaccine,” Dr. Lindsey Harris said.

A pair of nurses groups reached out to specific groups to get information and overcome their fears.

“The Asian Pacific Islander group are disproportionately affected by this COVID-19. More so with the access to the vaccine,” Gabriel Sapalaran, Philippines Nursing Association in Alabama said.

Another group pointed to the need for more of the Hispanic population to get shots. “Only 5% of Hispanics have been vaccinated thus far in Alabama,” Grace Grau, National Hispanic Nurses Association of Alabama said.

Multiple Black sororities and fraternities made passionate pleas for people to overcome their vaccine hesitancy. Many blamed hesitancy on the lack of knowledge and a wait and see attitude about the vaccines.

Deidra K. Diaz with Sigma Theta Inc. said, “Listen to reliable sources and the ladies of Delta Sigma came here with one short message, ‘Get vaccinated.’”

Parker said Legion Field will open for vaccinations Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Peabo Bryson concert tickets will be offered to those who get vaccinated. The concert will be at the BJCC this weekend.

Parker said he expects the council will take up other monetary incentives to help encourage more people to get shots.

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