North Omaha Pastor Fights For Access To COVID-19 Vaccines, Equality
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine continues on the Omaha subway, it’s evident that people of color take far fewer pictures than whites.
According to Dr. Adi Pour, Douglas County’s health director, and the county’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard, 77.8% of those vaccinated here are white, 5.1% black, 4.6% Spanish, and 2.5% Asian and 0 , 4% are Indians.
At the health committee meeting on Wednesday morning, Pastor Portia Cavitt expressed her frustration.
“I’ve been patient long enough and listened to every statement about ‘waiting’ and ‘why we are in this current situation’,” she said.
Cavitt told 6 News that she was “disturbed” Monday when the county announced another vaccination clinic in West Omaha.
“All locations are west of Dodge or up to 72nd,” she said.
Cavitt Church, Clair Memorial United Methodist at 56th and Ames Streets, has been a partner with the county health department for years. As a board member of NOAH, the North Omaha Area Health Clinic, Cavitt speaks regularly to Dr. Pour and other health members of the county.
A meeting was held last week about housing several small vaccination sites in northern Omaha, Cavitt said. However, after hearing nothing from members about host sites, she became frustrated.
“I wanted to remind you that last June you put together the resolution that racism is a health problem,” Cavitt explained, explaining why she appeared at the board meeting for public comment. “If you said that and African Americans are dying disproportionately from COVID-19, why don’t we make sure they get the vaccine?”
During the meeting, Dr. Pour, there wouldn’t be a site large enough to house a large clinic in Northern Omaha, and no locations would have enough space for the parking spaces that would be required for large crowds.
“I just want the board to know how hard we have been looking for a place in North Omaha,” said Pour. “When you’re building large websites, parking is one of the most important things we’ve found. You really have to have parking. “
Cavitt said there are ways to work around the problem.
“We know the city or county has invested in Northern Omaha. Yes, there may not be many locations that are that big. But why can’t you think outside the box and open a few smaller locations?” Said Cavitt.
She developed action plans for the Douglas County Board of Health that included dividing the area into quadrants and identifying potential host locations for smaller vaccination clinics. She also suggested that vaccinated health workers and volunteers take the city buses and shuttles to the construction site to avoid taking up parking spaces.
Dr. Pour said the area is likely to be divided into quadrants, but they hope the city’s first drive-through vaccination clinic will open on April 1 on Metro Community College’s north campus.
Meanwhile, a mini-clinic for approximately 100 people will be held at Cavitt Church on Tuesday afternoon in collaboration with students from North Omaha Area Health and Nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The clinic, which is open to people aged 65 and over, is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Cavitt said it was a big step but there is still a lot to be done and she wants the county to do so.
“What do we say to people of color here in Douglas County?”
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