About 1,000 Ward 8 residents came to be vaccinated against the coronavirus at an event at the Southeast Tennis & Learning Center on April 3.
Mona Reynolds, a Ward 8 resident, said when she learned about the event, she didn’t hesitate to sign up for it and to get inoculated.
“Many people in Ward 8 that I know don’t trust events like this but I do because we have to get rid of this disease,” Reynolds said. “I am doing this because I work at a job that may require that I become vaccinated soon. I believe people should be vaccinated because it will help fight the disease and people need to do their research and not believe the myths about vaccinations.”
Data from the D.C. Department of Health reveal neighborhoods located in Ward 8, such as Bellevue and Historic Anacostia, have lower full vaccination rates, 4 percent and 5 percent, respectively than their fellow District residents who reside in Northwest quadrant areas such as Barnaby Woods (25 percent) and Tenleytown (16 percent). Plus, health department data shows Ward 8 has the highest rate of death in the city from the coronavirus, 19 percent even though it has the third-highest rate of positives, behind Ward 4 and Ward 5. The statistics spurred former D.C. first lady Cora Masters Barry to spearhead the event at the SETLC, “Don’t Miss Your Shot.”
Getting the Shot
Participating organizations and institutions in the “Don’t Miss Your Shot” event included the Far Southeast Family Strengthening and Collaborative, Howard University College of Medicine, George Washington University, United Medical Center, Martha’s Table, the Rodham Institute, the Congress Heights Community Training Development Corporation and Children’s National Hospital. People interested in being vaccinated came into the SETLC facility and headed to the Venus and Serena Williams Arena where they waited until getting their shot. When hearing their name, they sat at a small table with volunteers and received their Johnson & Johnson shot, a one-time inoculation.
“That was quick,” Scott Thach, a resident, said. “I’m glad I won’t have to do this again.”
Residents received instruction to go to a section of the arena to be monitored for immediate and severe reaction to the vaccine. If no reaction takes place, residents could leave the SETLC but had the option to stop by and pick up a food box assembled by volunteers of the Capital Area Food Bank.
Thanks for the Shot
Thach said only one thing convinced him to get the vaccine: the coronavirus.
“The vaccine is safe,” he said. “I think everyone who can should get it because we don’t want this virus to have a place to live and exist. If everyone gets a shot, the virus will be under control and could go away. People who don’t want to get the shot should think of the alternative. If you don’t get the shot, you could be killed by COVID-19. Why risk it? People need to take advantage of getting vaccinated while they can. They should trust the science.”
Ameen Beale, a resident who volunteered at the event, said he got his vaccine shot at a Giant store in the city, but decided to help out because his children participate in the activities at the SETLC.
“I live in a high-risk area and people need to get vaccinated,” he said. “I would be more afraid to get COVID than to take the shot. People need to make informed decisions and listen to the research.”
Resident Miesha Blacksheare thanks Barry and her staff and the volunteers for sponsoring the event.
“The mayor sent out the email about this event and I filled out the questionnaire,” Blacksheare said. “It didn’t matter to me whether it was the Johnson & Johnson single-shot or the two shots offered by Pifzer or Moderna, I wanted to be vaccinated. For people who don’t want the shot, they shouldn’t be afraid. This is for your health. This vaccination will keep everyone safe.”