Walgreens and Harlem New York-based initiative for civic engagement, Faith for Black Lives, are joining forces to call upon churches to be community bullhorns for combatting persistent vaccine hesitancy and to drive the importance of COVID vaccination for children and young adults.
‘Shots for Tots’ combines Walgreens on-site vaccination clinics and vaccine literacy with programs happening at participating churches. The effort kicks-off Dec. 18 and will continue in the coming weeks, with clinics to be held across 10 states.
“We are grateful to Walgreens for the opportunity to expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations for children and families throughout the nation by hosting community-based vaccination clinics with our partnering faith communities,” said Rev. Stephen Green, founder, Faith for Black Lives, and senior pastor, St. Luke AME Church, in the village of Harlem, N.Y. “This campaign, launching this holiday season, will continue throughout the upcoming year to increase vaccinations among young people and communities of color.”
Green says the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has been a centerpiece issue for activism in churches, especially in underserved rural and urban communities where vaccine rates are low and vaccine hesitancy is often high. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, uptake of COVID vaccination remains lowest among Black Americans, compared to Whites and Hispanics, large in part due to misinformation about the effects of COVID vaccines.
The Walgreens and Faith for Black Lives Shots for Tots effort focuses on tackling hesitancy all while encouraging families to seek primary vaccinations for adult family members and eligible children, as well as booster doses for eligible adults and teens, at their nearest Walgreens. And, just in time for the holidays, many of this weekend’s clinics will also include toy drives for families in need this winter season.
“Churches, organizations like Faith for Black Lives and leaders like Rev. Green are vitally important to helping ensure the vaccine reaches under-represented and often hard-to-reach populations,” said Carlos Cubia, senior vice president and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance. “Walgreens is grateful for their partnership, as we know that our success reaching patients in medically underserved areas is reliant upon the trusted role of faith leaders and communities.”
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Churches interested in participating can visit here for more information. To schedule a Walgreens vaccination appointment, individuals are highly encouraged to use the Walgreens app or visit here to secure an appointment in advance. When scheduling, individuals will be asked to verify eligibility and, if applicable (for second appointments and/or booster doses), they’ll be asked to provide the manufacturer and date of their last COVID-19 vaccine.