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'It has changed people's lives:' Hampton University partners with Newport News church for mobile Covid-19 vaccine clinic

Hampton University's mobile vaccine unit is holding a vaccine clinic Friday at New Grafton Baptist Church. The clinic is from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — On Friday, New Grafton Baptist Church turned its parking lot into a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic. It was a partnership with Hampton University’s mobile vaccine clinic.

The clinic was a push to make sure the community gets vaccinated.

Joshua Jones, a soon-to-be high schooler in Newport News showed up with his mom Diane Jones to get his vaccine.

“I’m looking forward to being able to hang out with people without having to worry about the coronavirus,” said Joshua.

His mother was ecstatic.

“We’ve gotten our shots, and the fact that he’s now able to get his shot, it’ll be easier to go visit the grandparents,” said Diane.  “We’ll be much safer.”

The clinic happened as health officials sound the alarm about the new highly-contagious delta variant spreading across the U.S.

As of Friday, the latest data from the Virginia Department of Health showed 69% of adults in Virginia have received at least one dose of the vaccine. About 57% of the entire population in the Commonwealth has received at least one dose.

Hampton University’s mobile clinic and the church are getting into communities to overcome vaccine hesitancy. On Friday, the church even picked people up and transported them to the mobile clinic.

Dr. Aviance Lewis, Hampton University’s mobile vaccine community engagement coordinator said their work to get people vaccinated is not over.

“It has changed people's lives,” said Lewis.

“I’ve been able to go into communities that majority of residents don’t have transportation, so we can go into homes and communities and take away the excuse of ‘I can’t get there.’ We are filling that gap.”

Reverend Dr. Michael Sumler, the Pastor at New Grafton Baptist Church feels it’s his responsibility to help people in his community overcome vaccine hesitancy.

“Every Sunday from my pulpit, we try to motivate and encourage people to get the injections and with all these wild stories you hear about, it’s a great challenge… but still, we do the best we can,” said Sumler.

Friday’s clinic runs from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. The clinic will administer first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. To pre-register and schedule an appointment, contact either Deborah Hudson, MPH, at 757-728-6209 or Dr. Lewis at 757-728-6075. Walk-up registration is also available.

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