On March 8th, it was announced that the St. John Baptist Church in Columbia, MD is holding COVID-19 vaccine clinics in hopes that this will improve vaccine equity. During a news conference at the church, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a plan to stop inequities in vaccine distribution. County leaders plan to reduce access barriers by setting up clinics at houses of worship similar to the clinic at the St. John Baptist Church. According to wbaltv.com, Reverend Robert Turner from the St. John Baptist Church said, “If you want to get vaccinated near where you live, work or worship, come and get it.” In the past, the church parking lot was used as a drive-through COVID-19 testing site to reach disadvantaged populations.
Calvin Ball described data on the effects that COVID-19 has on key demographics. According to baltimoresun.com, he explained that Black residents make up around 25% of Howard County’s Coronavirus fatalities and 18% of overall cases. Asian Americans make up 12% of fatalities and 9% of cases. Latinxs/Hispanics make up 10.5% of COVID-19 cases. Lastly, White residents make up 55% of Covid deaths and 27.3% of the cases in the county. Ball also explained that out of the 63,000 doses given out as of March 8th, 13% of doses have been given to Black residents, 12% to Asian Americans, and 3% to Latinxs/Hispanics. White residents have been given the most doses, receiving about 60% of those available so far. Ball himself received the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine at the church on the 8th to convince residents to get the vaccine and to increase confidence in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. According to wmar2news.com, county leaders hope clinics like the one at the church will help people who want to get the vaccine but can’t because of issues with transportation or with scheduling an appointment online.