GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Georgetown NAACP hopes a grassroots approach to community outreach and a partnership with Tidelands Health will convince people to make their COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
The effort will include door-to-door visits, phone calls and postcards as volunteers work to help set appointments for those who have little or no internet access but want to receive the vaccine.
NAACP and Tidelands officials report initial success with the effort.
In February, 5.2 percent of those vaccinated by Tidelands Health were African American, Tidelands spokesperson Dawn Bryant said. In April, that number rose to 16.4 percent, she said.
“We need to do something different, if possible. Let’s get our hands in and do something together,” Georgetown NAACP Branch 5520 President Marvin Neal said. “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.”
People can choose 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.
“We have plenty of vaccine supply and available appointment times,” Monica Grey, vice president of care continuum and digital health at Tidelands Health, said. “For those who can’t schedule online or by phone, this approach works.”
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.
Tidelands hopes other organizations, including churches, social service organizations and pharmacies will also reach out for similar collaborations.
As for the NAACP, meanwhile, Neal said the volunteers will 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.”
Any group interested in such a partnership should contact Tidelands Health Senior Director of Community Health Resources Kelly Kaminski at 843-520-8570.