Safe, effective & free: Spots open at Esperanza, Eastside vaccine events

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The first vaccination event at the Esperanza Latino Center was sold out. (Photo used with permission from Esperanza)

Organizers say Moderna ‘brand’ to be administered 

COVINGTON, Ky. – A large number of spots are still open at COVID-19 vaccination events scheduled for the Eastside and Latino communities in Covington next Saturday, April 24. 

And organizers want to put to rest one of the reasons that might be keeping people from signing up: The vaccine being administered is the Moderna vaccine, not the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
 
Out of an “abundance of caution,” national health authorities have recommended a “pause” in the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine while they review reports of potentially dangerous albeit extremely rare blood clots associated with that dose.
 
But that is a moot development in Covington, since leaders at both the Ninth Street Baptist Church in Eastside and the Esperanza Latino Center on Pike Street say health officials will be using the Moderna vaccine.
 
“I had a guy the other day mention that,” said Rev. Richard Fowler of Ninth Street Baptist. “But I reassured him that while we’d usually use Johnson & Johnson because it’s one and done, we’ve switched.”
 
People who get their first dose of Moderna on the 24th will leave with an appointment for their second dose, he said.
 
The vaccination events are the second held in the Eastside neighborhood and at Esperanza as City leaders focus on making sure that the African-American and Latino communities aren’t left out of the nationwide response to the devastating pandemic.
 
The City of Covington worked with Blank’s Pharmacy, NKY Health, the church, and Esperanza on events in March. Both events were “sold out,” with 275 people receiving the vaccine at the church and 305 people at the center.
 
But organizers say registrations have slowed for the second, follow-up events.
 
Rev. Fowler said only 40 of the 200 spots he has available are taken. And Reid Yearwood, executive director of Esperanza, said only 103 of the 200 available there are taken. In the wake of the Johnson & Johnson news, he’s actually seen cancelations.
 
Convenience is being touted as a huge benefit at both sites.
 
Esperanza: Yearwood said the vaccine will be administered there between 9 a.m. and noon April 24, although the early spots are taken. They can extend the day until 1 p.m. if needed.
 
People in need of a free vaccine can call (859) 261-0862 by next Friday to make an appointment, or they can do so by stopping by the center at 234 W. Pike St. Office hours are 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday.
 
Language is not a barrier: People can register in Spanish. They will not need ID but will have to fill out a form the day of the shot, he said.
 
“Following the success of the first event, we’re excited to provide the community another safe, welcoming, and bilingual event where they can get their vaccine,” Yearwood said.
 
Esperanza has been advertising the event in Spanish on its Facebook page, @esperanzaky
 
Ninth Street Baptist: Rev. Fowler said the vaccine will be administered between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. April 24 at the church, at 231 E. Ninth St.
 
To make an appointment, people should call (859) 431-1388 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by next Wednesday. They will need to bring a picture ID the day of the shot.
 
The location is perfect, Rev. Fowler said. Though the church may look small from the outside, the space is larger than it appears and health workers are very efficient.
 
“There are no long lines,” he said. “You’re in there almost immediately on your arrival, and the same person who logs you in actually gives the shot. If you have to wait at all, it’s five minutes, tops. This is safe, effective and free.”
 
Elk’s Lodge Ira 37 IBPOE of W on East 11th Street is a co-sponsor of the event.
 
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