Historically African American fraternity leading effort on Indy's east side to connect Hoosiers to vaccinations

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Posted at 6:46 PM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 23:14:20-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A unique community effort is taking place to get more people vaccinated on Indy's far east side.

On Saturday, May 1, a clinic will be held at the IndyGo building just off of East 33rd Street where the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, a historically African American fraternity, is taking their commitment to promote good health practices now in the fight against COVID-19. They're partnering with the Marion County Health Department to hold a vaccine clinic.

“The Department of Public Health looked at it and they saw the vaccination rates and beginning to realize that this community has a much lower rate,” Daniel Pierson, Omega Psi Phi fraternity Indiana representative said. “And so as we look at hosting this event tomorrow, we have reached out to community centers, churches in these areas, so that we can raise awareness of the fact that it is low.”

According to vaccine data by the Marion County Health Department, the east side of Indianapolis is low in community vaccination. That’s why these groups have come together to bring the clinic to them.

“They looked at this opportunity and said we really can make a difference,” Pierson said.

The Indiana Omega Psi Phi state representative acknowledged some of the reasons why vaccination rates might be lower there.

“Challenges as far as health inequities, as far as the same number of hospitals around,” he said.

If folks can hear from them, he said, why it’s safe and they chose to get vaccinated, maybe it will change their minds.

“Just trying to encourage folks to say I got vaccinated, I feel healthy, I also feel more confident now in dealing with the virus,” Pierson said. “And so therefore you should also consider it.”

“To be a part of an organization, to be a part of a ministry, and to have a heart and desire to see our communities healthy, there is no place else to be or anything else I want to be involved in,” Pastor James Anyike of Scott United Methodist Church said.

Pastor Anyike said he’s heard from many parishioners that they’re skeptical and apprehensive to get the vaccine, unsure how it will impact them later down the line. It makes it that much more important for him to get involved in spreading the word about this event.

“I care about our people. I care that we are healthy. I care that we have the best information,” he said.

They’re hoping to vaccinate at least 500 people tomorrow and more, in the future.

“We anticipate maybe doing this again and other efforts along with Marion County Health Department not just this one. So that we can be involved in efforts to keep our community healthy not just in this issue but in other issues to come,” Anyike added.