Tidelands Health partners with Georgetown NAACP for grassroots outreach to encourage COVID-19 vaccination

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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on April 14, 2021

Tidelands Health partners with Georgetown NAACP for grassroots outreach to encourage COVID-19 vaccination

Door-to-door visits. Phone calls. Postcards.

The Georgetown NAACP, in partnership with Tidelands Health, is utilizing a grassroots approach to reach community members who face barriers to scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Volunteers are facilitating appointments for those who may have limited or no internet access, limited phone availability or other barriers that make it difficult to make a vaccination appointment.

Volunteers with the Georgetown NAACP go door to door helping schedule appointments for people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.The initiative, along with other community outreach efforts, is making a difference. In February, 5.2 percent of those vaccinated by Tidelands Health were African American. Today, that number is 16.4 percent.

“We need to do something different, if possible. Let’s get our hands in and do something together,” said Marvin Neal, president of the Georgetown NAACP Branch No. 5520. “It is work for us, but I feel good about it because it’s effective and it’s helping people get healthier because they are getting vaccinated.”

Individuals pick the day and time of day – morning or afternoon – that works best for them to come to a Tidelands Health regional vaccination site for their appointment. Hundreds of appointments have been scheduled since the effort began in March.

Monica Grey, vice president of care continuum and digital health at Tidelands Health, said the not-for-profit health system is committed to making the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine available to everyone in the region.

“We have plenty of vaccine supply and available appointment times,” Grey said. “For those who can’t schedule online or by phone, this approach works.

“We are grateful for the dedication of volunteers with the Georgetown NAACP and others who are putting in time and effort to make sure everyone in our community has access to the vaccine. It’s a win for everybody.”

Tidelands Health has also worked with the NAACP to address vaccine hesitancy, which research has shown is higher in communities of color, by presenting an educational session and answering questions.

Now, the NAACP initiative serves as a model for partnerships between Tidelands Health and other area organizations, including churches, social service agencies and pharmacies. Organizations interested in collaborating on vaccine outreach efforts should contact Kelly Kaminski, senior director of community health resources at Tidelands Health, via email at kkaminski@tidelandshealth.org or by phone at 843-520-8570.

As for the NAACP, Neal and his team of volunteers continue to walk neighborhoods and do whatever they can to reach community members.

“We are just going to do it until we get immunity,” he said. “We can’t stop.”

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Tidelands Health is the region’s largest health care provider and MUSC Health affiliate, serving the Carolinas at four hospitals and more than 60 outpatient locations. More than 2,500 employee, physician and volunteer partners work side by side with our communities to transform the health of our region – promoting wellness, preventing illness, encouraging recovery and restoring health.