Organizations work to educate and vaccinate the Brazos Valley
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - As communities continue to face challenges related to COVID-19, nonprofit organizations, businesses and churches are stepping up to help educate and vaccinate the community.
Whether it’s donating time by volunteering, offering space at a local community center or church, or making a financial contribution to nonprofits and medical facilities, each organization has a purpose and vision of serving the community the best way they know how.
In a push to get more shots into arms and slow the spread of COVID-19, organizations are ramping up their efforts to spread awareness about the vaccine without making politics an issue. First Baptist Church of Navasota is teaming up with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy to provide COVID-19 and flu vaccines for anyone who wants to be vaccinated. Ross Jarvis, worship pastor for the church, says offering the vaccine has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with love.
“This is an opportunity for our church to reach out and show the love of God, not just to the community here in Navasota, but also to the greater community in the Brazos valley as well,” said Jarvis. “We felt that this was very important for us to be able to offer that.”
“The vaccination concept has really been politicized, but as a church, we’re not picking one side or the other. We’re not telling people they should, or they shouldn’t. We are offering this for the people who want it,” said Jarvis. “The church as a whole, we really do love our community. We love being here. This is a historic church. We have done our best to serve the community and whoever happens to be in it at the time. We want people to understand that God loves them and wants the very best for them, and this is a great opportunity for us to be able to engage the community.”
The Episcopal Health Foundation, the founder of the nonprofit Your Shot Texas, recently awarded over $35,000 in grant money to the nonprofit Easter Seals of Greater Houston. Easter Seals is tasked with using the grant money here in the Brazos Valley to assist veterans and people with disabilities in getting the vaccine.
Brian Sasser, chief communications officer for the Episcopal Health Foundation, says the grant’s focus is to increase vaccine confidence and get more people vaccinated. He says Your Shot Texas is working to reach the communities most affected by the virus.
“We’re really trying to work with the groups who work in those communities to see what are the best ways to try and convince someone that the vaccine would be beneficial for them,” said Sasser. “Then also what are the best ways to provide convenient ways and convenient incentives to be able to actually get them the shot.”
“This is an effort to make sure that those who are hesitant and those that just don’t have a convenient way to get it done can find that through this program,” said Sasser.
Kelly Klein, Development Director for Easter Seals Greater Houston, says their primary goal is to combat misinformation surrounding the vaccine and vaccine hesitancy in general. She says the grant from Your Shot Texas will go a long way in serving the Brazos Valley.
“People, in general, may or may not believe what they’re hearing out there or are getting their information just from social media, so really it’s purely a one-on-one educational conversation.”
“We really would not have been able to do this. We obviously have a very tight budget, and most of the money that we raise goes directly to serving our clients through other programs,” said Klein. “So if it wasn’t for the Your Shot Texas program and Episcopal Health Charities, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”
First Baptist Church of Navasota says everyone is welcome to come and get vaccinated on Friday.
“First Baptist Church of Navasota is partnering with the pharmacy here at Brookshire Brothers to offer the COVID vaccine on September 24th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will be offering first doses, second doses, and boosters for those folks who are more than eight months out from their previous vaccination,” said Jarvis. “Those are free to anyone who arrives.”
“We will also be offering flu vaccines as well, which will be free if you’re covered by insurance. If you’re not covered by insurance, they will be $25 for the flu vaccine, but the COVID vaccine is being offered for free. Masks are required. If there are minors that come, we are requiring that a parent or guardian be present with them in order for them to be vaccinated,” said Jarvis.
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