Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN) – More than 2 million Tennesseans have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the latest numbers released from the State Health Department.
As the push to vaccinate continues, just 11 percent of Tennesseans who have rolled up their sleeves are African American. In an effort to increase those numbers, on Saturday Meharry Medical College held a drive-thru vaccination drive at Greater Bethel AME Church.
“One of the most important things to get the vaccinations to the level that we want, we have to take the vaccinations to the people where they are,” said Dr. James Hildreth, President and CEO of Meharry Medical College, “and one of the best places to do that ofcourse is the churches.”
Dr. Hildreth says churches remain an important place within communities. He says they represent a safe place where people feel comfortable, and faith leaders serve as “trusted messengers.”
According to the State Health Department, there have been more than 12,000 deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. To honor those who has died, people who received their vaccine had the chance to dedicate their vaccination to a friend or family member who passes away from COVID-19.
“It’s sort of mixed emotions. On the one hand, we’re writing a name as we get vaccinated because it’s a hopeful thing that the end is coming. But we are also remembering those who are unfortunate enough to not get the vaccine before they passed away,” said Dr. Hildreth.
The names of the COVID victims were collected and will be used to create a piece of art entitled “The Life of COVID” by world-renown artist, James Threalkill.
Those who attended had the option of the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine or the Pfizer vaccine.
Churches and Organizations partnering with Meharry Medical College:
- Edgehill United Methodist Church
- Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
- Greater Christ Temple Apostolic Church
- Kayne Avenue Missionary Baptist Church
- Mt. Gilead Missionary Baptist Church
- New Hope Missionary Baptist Church
- Progressive Baptist Church
- Second Missionary Baptist Church
- Southside Community Church-Church of God in Christ
- Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church
- Watson Grove Missionary Baptist Church
- Belmont University