PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - A mobile vaccination clinic opened its doors in north Portland Wednesday morning. Organizers say clinics in neighborhoods in need are the next wave of the vaccine rollout.
Dammy Olopade was at the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church clinic Wednesday to get a single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
"I know vaccinations is a very sensitive topic for many people, but we have to do the best we can to protect one another not just ourselves," Olopade said. "It gives me the opportunity to know I'm not putting anyone else at risk."
The doses come from Multnomah County's allotment, and the site is a group effort. It's funded by Providence, and on the ground - along with Providence staff - are volunteers with the nonprofit Medical Teams International.
FOX 12 was told the clinic was organized through Providence’s Parish Health Promotor’s Program to reach underserved people, especially the BIPOC community, to provide access to a low-barrier vaccination site. People were informed about the clinic at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church through the church itself, which handled the promotion and scheduling within their community.
"This partnership really is kind of that next wave of what's going on. We've got these mass community-based sites where people can go in and they have access to these places but how do you reach deeper into the community and offer vaccines and offer testing to folks that can't make it to those sites," Jason Rogers said.
Rogers is the U.S. Programs Response Manager for Medical Teams International. He says getting the vaccine to this community in north Portland was a big priority.
According to Medical Teams International, "Various populations in North Portland are met with barriers to getting vaccinated via the mass vaccination locations (be it a language barrier, lack of transportation, mistrust, digital literacy, etc.). Through the Parish Health Promotor’s Program, community members were connected to this opportunity by local and trusted leadership, helping to shepherd them through the vaccination process."
Even though this is just day one, Olopade says the clinic is making a difference.
"They don't have to be members of the church, they just have to know that this is a safe environment for them to come into. The history of vaccinations has been an issue so we're hoping this will help convince them," he said.
The vaccine appointments were reservation-only and all are booked for the three clinic days. From 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, the clinic will offer some drop-in appointments if they have vaccines leftover.
Olopade says he hopes this is just the start of clinics like this.
"I'm happy we have the opportunity to do this and I hope collaborations like this continue to happen," he said.