LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — UofL Health is working to build church partnerships to create COVID-19 vaccination clinics across Louisville.
The first opened Friday at Community Missionary Baptist Church in the Newburg neighborhood. The church is handling sign-ups for those in the community.
“COVID has really highlighted that certain communities are disproportionally affected by illness in general, not just COVID,” said Dr. Edward Miller, chief diversity officer and division director for maternal and fetal medicine at UofL Health.
Miller said this is one of several churches UofL Health hopes to partner with to set up vaccine sites.
“We have many other churches that are interested and we have reached out to,” he said. “Our goal is to not be here just this one time. Our goal is to have this continued relationship.”
Otis Mitchell is one of the community members who rolled up his sleeve for the vaccine Friday.
“I want to be healthy,” he said. “I’m 70. I want to live a little longer, and that means getting the vaccine. All you have to do is watch the news and hear about all the deaths and so many people that are being affected by COVID-19. You’ve got to be aware of that, and I’m aware of it.”
When asked about potential side effects, Mitchell said he’s not concerned.
“I’ve heard different things, but you know, everybody’s different,” he said.
In a few weeks, Mitchell will return for his second dose. Shortly after, he’ll be considered fully vaccinated.
And with more people getting vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated guidance for people who are fully vaccinated and exposed to someone with COVID-19. According to the CDC, if someone is vaccinated and exposed to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, they aren’t required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:
- Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
- Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
- Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.
The CDC did note that once you reach the three-month mark post-vaccine, you should quarantine again, which raised questions about how long you are protected after getting the shot.
According to UofL Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith, there’s not data yet on exactly how long immunity lasts after getting vaccinated.
Dr. John Klein, with U of L’s School of Medicine, said the CDC is being cautious because that data isn’t clear.
“But certainly the vaccines are effective well beyond the 90-day period and there’s a fair amount of the data from the clinical trials looking at not only antibody levels, which will decline, but also the other parts of the immune system that help protect us from the virus, that those are still engaged and primed and ready to go,” he said.
Klein added that it’s important to quarantine if you have any symptoms, even if you’ve been vaccinated. That’s because there isn’t currently an approved vaccine that’s 100% effective, so even though the chances are small, you could still be infected.
While more data is being collected, those with UofL Health hope to expand their reach by creating additional pop-up clinics and getting as many people vaccinated as possible.
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