ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — In partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, the Rescue Mission of Roanoke scheduled and dosed 100 guests in-need with the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday.
The community served by the Rescue Mission ranges from those falling on hard times to those battling addiction or mental health. The non-profit tries to provide guests with an environment where they can succeed. This free vaccine clinic was a part of that.
According to Lee Clark, the CEO of The Rescue Mission Of Roanoke, “Regardless of your color or background, and that’s what this clinic is about really trying to reach everyone, give them access to the vaccine so that they’re healthy and strong and can take those right next steps.”
Registered Nurse Barbara Phifer has been serving Roanoke’s community for 40 years and she says she has never seen devastation as she has with this pandemic. As a Black woman, she says she has seen how it has affected her community and encourages minorities to take the vaccine.
“I can understand the fear, but my thing is, but my thing is I would rather have the injection and be standing here talking to you than to be six feet under,” Phifer told WFXR News.
Phifer also says she left her employment to volunteer during this pandemic because she saw a need.
“There was a great need, you know, we were turning away people because we didn’t have enough, you know, people to administer the vaccine, so it was something I could easily do and I wanted to do.”
Officials with the health department emphasized the importance of getting the vaccine to those who are homeless and in need, citing equity as a driver in their effort.
“Health equity” means that we are intentional in our efforts to assure our residents have access to the vaccine, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. Individuals experiencing homelessness may have difficulty accessing medical services in settings such as the large POD sites at the civic center. Therefore, our district vaccine plan includes strategies to work with partners such as the Rescue Mission to bring vaccines to people experiencing homelessness in the places where they are,”Dr. Cynthia Morrow, Health Director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts.
The event was closed to the public.