Partnership Fuels Effort to Protect Hard-Hit Neighborhoods;
Future Vaccination Clinics Planned
A free, large-scale, community-based vaccination effort spearheaded by Family Health Center has surpassed 5,000 vaccinations to combat COVID-19.
The campaign began in January to ensure the first and second doses of vaccines were easily available to people within Kalamazoo’s hardest-hit neighborhoods. That effort continues, with drive-through vaccination clinics continuing twice weekly and rotating through in the neighborhoods of Northside, Edison, Downtown, Westwood, Eastside, Milwood, Parchment and Comstock.
“Reaching this remarkable milestone reflects our long-time commitment to bringing quality health care to historically underserved people in our most vulnerable neighborhoods,” said Denise Crawford, FHC President & CEO.
“We must meet people where they are, whether it’s in ordinary times or during a pandemic,” she added. “COVID-19 makes our mission even more critical. We’re determined to help individuals and ultimately our whole community to be healthy and safe.”
Crawford underscored the value of partnership in bringing vaccines to people in need. FHC worked alongside Bronson Healthcare Group and other key players.
“We will continue to partner with all people to help them achieve their health and well-being,” said Crawford. “We know that our community is only as healthy as our most vulnerable residents. That’s why we continue our outreach and education to folks who have been marginalized.” 2
While vaccinations have started to trend downward recently, Bronson and FHC have started revisiting their approach, looking to adapt the model so that all people are informed and that everyone who wants a vaccine can get one safely.
Bill Manns, Bronson Healthcare President and CEO, said Bronson shares FHC’s commitment to meeting that need. “We are committed to equitable vaccine distribution across southwest Michigan,” he said. “Our partnership with the Family Health Center allows us to work together to reach out into all areas of our community.
“We encourage everyone 16 year of age and older to get the vaccine,” Mann added. “We know it prevents serious illness and hospitalization and saves live. In the past three months, we have cared for nearly 700 inpatients with COVID-19 at Bronson Methodist Hospital, and 99% of them had not been vaccinated. So, please, take care of yourself and get your shot as soon as you can.”
Upcoming vaccine clinics include:
- Wednesday, May 5, Northeastern Elementary, 2433 Gertrude St., Kalamazoo;
- Tuesday, May 11, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, 6767 West O Ave., Texas Township;
- Wednesday, May 12, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Arcadia Commons, downtown Kalamazoo.
Appointments are required and can be made by calling the FHC COVID-19 hotline at (269) 488-0804.
Crawford offered up special thanks to all the partners in the community-wide vaccination effort: Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo Public Schools, Integrated Services of Kalamazoo, KPEP, Salvation Army, YWCA, Stones Church, Community Healing Center, Victory Clinic, City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation, Parchment School District, El Concilio, Kalamazoo County Office of Emergency Management, Comstock Public Schools, Ministry with Community, MRC Industries, Family & Children Services, Upjohn Community Care Center, and Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries.
Family Health Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Federally Qualified Health Center serving the citizens of Kalamazoo County. FHC provides quality health care to some 30,000 historically underserved patients, ensuring that all people who enter our facilities are treated with dignity, respect and a welcoming spirit. FHC’s goal is to create a “medical home” for families, children & adults who seek answers to their health care needs. Online: www.fhckzoo.com, and also on Facebook.