Local community activists organize COVID-19 pop-up vaccine clinic


Cameron Krasucki The Daily Illini

A COVID-19 vaccination worker checks in a patient at the Church of the Living God on Feb. 20. Two University students are organizing a pop-up vaccination clinic to serve impoverished community members.

By Royal Shrestha, Staff Writer

Two former University students are helping to organize an ongoing pop-up vaccine clinic as part of the cooperation between Walgreens and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department.
Many Champaign-Urbana community members have been getting vaccinated from their local clinics, hospitals and pharmacies as the vaccine becomes more available. For impoverished and vulnerable communities, the accessibility to these vaccines can be limited.
Local activists were aware of this issue and helped organize a local community COVID-19 vaccine clinic beginning March 13, with the partnership of Walgreens and the CUPHD.
“These impoverished places are home to many minorities, and we wanted to especially target the African-American community, where we can see clear health disparities during this pandemic,” said Justin Hendrix, former University student who helped organize this pop-up clinic.
Drake Materre, also a former University student and a C-U community member that helped organize this event, described how minorities in these impoverished communities can struggle when it comes to finding clinical care and having access to personal protective equipment. This pop-up clinic allowed minorities to come out and gain this sense of health security, according to Materre.
“This pop-up clinic allowed almost 1,200 people to come out and get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.” Materre said. “With a great majority being minorities, we also saw students and the elderly coming out to get vaccinated.”
“There wasn’t too much traffic around the location, and all safety precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing were being followed,” said Rene Cortez, sophomore in DGS. “I was surprised mostly by people from all different backgrounds coming to get vaccinated, including University of Illinois students.”
Both Hendrix and Materre were invited to serve the local community as part of the pop-up clinic and help spread awareness.
“When we were invited to take part in this pop-up clinic, most of the preparations were underway by Walgreens and the CUPHD,” Hendrix said. “We were the ones who took the initiative and helped spread word to those in our local communities.”
The cooperation between Walgreens and the CUPHD is ongoing, and anyone can make an appointment to be vaccinated, including students as well. There is currently no plan to end this vaccine clinic in the near future.

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