The city of Fort Worth is now an independent COVID-19 vaccine provider, city officials announced this week.
According to a city newsletter posted Thursday, Fort Worth is working to expand locations for available COVID-19 vaccine supplies and looking for opportunities to bring the vaccine clinics into neighborhoods.
The city is looking for organizations to host community vaccine clinics and has set certain minimum requirements:
- Provide location with a large, indoor space (for example, a gymnasium, family life center, cafeteria or similar)
- Preferably with a separate entrance and exit
- Seven-day advance notice
- Fifty or more people interested in receiving a vaccine
- Five 6-foot tables
- Thirty or more chairs
Rev. Melvin Wilson Jr., the senior pastor at Baker Chapel AME Church in Fort Worth, expressed support for the initiative Saturday.
“I think that’s wonderful,” Wilson said. “We are more than willing to offer assistance and to be a part of it. I think more collaboration needs to be done in order to foster trust.”
The church hosted its monthly food giveaway Saturday at its location on Humbolt Street in Fort Worth. Baker Chapel AME Church is in the 76104 ZIP code, which was determined in a 2019 study by UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists to have the shortest life expectancy in Texas.
The event Saturday also included vision screening, a pediatric mobile clinic, counseling resources, and registration help with voting and COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Wilson said he felt that churches could help connect the community to health resources.
“For many years, the church has been the pinnacle of the community and so, people will be able to extend more trust to the church rather than a parking lot or sometimes even a city-ran [site] without a church name being attached to it,” he said.
Rev. Courtene’y Martin, associate minister at the Baker Chapel AME, assisted with the slow traffic of COVID-19 vaccine registrations. By noon Saturday, she said they'd signed up five people.
“One, because, yes… they’re hesitant. Two, they received bad information from the beginning. They don’t trust the science of it, and they’ve had bad experiences at the hand of the medical community. So, Black and brown persons typically are very… cautious, skeptical even,” Martin said. “Please come out. Please get registered. Please tell your friends and family so we can be safe. We can’t all be safe until every one of us is taken care of.”
Wilson said he hoped the active role churches and other places of worship are taking in the vaccine distribution will help with vaccination rates.
Organizations interested in hosting a vaccine clinic in Fort Worth are asked to complete this form.