Kent County faith leaders go door-to-door registering socially vulnerable for COVID-19 vaccinations

Mar 23, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine
Credit David Zalubowski / Associated Press

Vaccinated church leaders serving as medical volunteers will begin canvassing Grand Rapids neighborhoods identified as having a high number of socially vulnerable residents. It’s a grassroots COVID-19 vaccine registration effort.

The Kent County COVID-19 Church Task Force has been meeting once a week since the coronavirus pandemic began more than one year ago. Leaders from 50 Kent County congregations hosting a one-hour meeting with the health department.

In recent conversations, a shift to identifying places where residents are socially vulnerable are having difficulty registering for vaccinations.

“They had a list based on a number of social indicators across the county and it’s based on racial makeup, access to transportation, socio-economic numbers.”

Reverend Khary Bridgewater is Coordinator for the Kent County COVID-19 Church Task Force. He says seven zip codes have been identified areas where 200 church leaders and volunteers will go door-to-door offering to register residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

It begins Tuesday @ 3:30 with what’s being called the COVID-19 Vaccine Rally and Registration Drive at the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church. From there, volunteers will canvas the 49507 Zip code hard hit by the spread of COVID.

“Unfortunately, in some of our communities, there’s just a disconnection from that localized community to the broader community. So, this is how e build that bridge and the social networks of churches serve as a vital way of getting information like this down to the everyday citizen who’s trying to make a good choice.”

Reverend Bridgewater says this is the first of 10 drives scheduled for Kent County.