Greenville NAACP working to bring vaccine shots to rural, underserved communities

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UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – Organizations across the Upstate are pushing to bring the vaccine to rural communities and underserved populations.

According to DHEC, only 37 percent of South Carolinians are fully vaccinated which means there’s still millions of residents that need to get their shots in order to help the state reach herd immunity. The problem is— many residents are still struggling to gain access to vaccine clinics— especially those living in rural communities.

Lillian Brock, secretary for the Greenville chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said transportation is a huge issue for people living in small towns such as Honea Path, Piedmont and Travelers Rest.

For residents without reliable transportation, reaching a clinic could be an expensive or dangerous trek.

Organizations, churches and healthcare providers across the Upstate are striving to bridge the gap by organizing pop-up vaccination clinics in rural and underserved areas.

Greenville NAACP has hosted four clinics— in partnership with healthcare providers such as Prisma Heath—across various rural communities in the Upstate. 

Thus far, the organization has delivered several hundreds of vaccines to previously hesitant and hard-to-reach residents. Organizers said it’s their duty as leaders in the community to step up and help people in need.

“It really does take extra efforts to educate our communities. As tragic as it is there’s still anxiety, fear and misinformation,” Peggy Baxter 2nd Vice President at Greenville NAACP said,”It was a natural for the NAACP, it has been natural for our faith communities to say “We’re here to work with our people. You trust us and we trust you.”

Greenville NAACP was one of many organizations selected by the state to receive a grant to assist with COVID-19 outreach. The organization plans to use the funding along with donations to provide gift cards and gas cards as incentives for those who choose to get the vaccine. Their main goal is to inoculate as many residents in the millennial and gen-z populations as possible.

“We’re really looking for the young people ages 12 to 36 years old,” Lillian Brock-Flemming, secretary at Greenville NAACP said,”We really want the parents to get the kids their shots now before they go back to school.”

Organizers said South Carolina is falling behind in their vaccine rollout efforts in comparison to other states— especially with vaccinating younger people. Brock said getting the vaccine is the first step in returning to normal life.

This weekend Greenville NAACP will be hosting their vaccine clinic in Piedmont, S.C.

Get Out The Vaccination Campaign
250 N. Flat Rock Rd., Piedmont, SC 29673
Rev. Christopher Scott, Pastor
9:00AM – 4:00PM

The Hispanic Alliance will be teaming up with Bon Secours to host a Pfizer vaccine clinic on Saturday June 5th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Legacy Early College located at 900 Woodside Avenue.

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