UAB and JeffCo to Expand Vaccine Outreach in Underrepresented Communities

Source: UAB Medicine

Black residents in Jefferson County remain disproportionately underrepresented when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Data released by UAB in February showed that out of the 59,167 vaccination doses administered, only about 21% of vaccine recipients identified as Black.

As of Wednesday, UAB had administered roughly 80,000 vaccine doses, but Dr. Sarah Nafziger, vice president of UAB’s Clinical Support Services, said the racial breakdown remains essentially the same.

“Are we satisfied where we are right now? No, we’re not. We feel like we can do more. And we’re going to do more. We’re planning to do more,” she said. “We’re going to keep moving forward, and I know that we’re going to be able to reach even more in the underrepresented groups.”

Nafziger said UAB plans to focus on vaccinating more Black residents in Jefferson County through “new community offerings.” What exactly that’ll include isn’t clear. But Nafziger said UAB wants to focus on individuals who don’t have access to transportation, and they plan to partner with the county health department to target ZIP codes that aren’t being reached.

Only one of UAB’s four vaccination sites is located in a predominately-Black neighborhood. The Parker High School site offers vaccination appointments and a walk-up option. But Nafziger said there have been some problems.

“We have had some people lining up really early in the morning – while I’m still asleep in bed,” Nafziger said. “Because of that – that’s one of the reasons that we’re looking at our strategies. We’re trying to find ways to get rid of extensive lines and extensive cues.”

Beginning on Monday, the Parker High School vaccination site will expand its hours of operation in an effort to vaccinate more people.

UAB has been notified that it’ll receive more vaccines, but the exact number isn’t clear, Nafziger said.

“We want to be efficient in vaccine delivery and we want to be equitable in vaccine delivery. Those are our overarching guiding principles in getting this vaccine out,” Nafziger said. “So we feel like we’ve done a great job with doing both of those things. We still have more work to do.”

Editor’s Note: UAB holds WBHM’s broadcast license, but our news and business departments operate independently.