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Vaccine accessibility & education for city of Niagara Falls residents

"Getting a shot to save your life"
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Posted at 5:49 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 17:49:42-04

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WKBW) — Getting the word out to impoverished communities about vaccine accessibility is vital in fighting COVID-19.

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Niagara Falls Health Equity Task Force & Niagara Falls Peacemakers walk through a city neighborhood.

In the City of Niagara Falls, on a record-breaking weather day, a group of volunteers walked door-to-door Thursday through a neighborhood to alert residents of an upcoming pop up clinic.

“So our goal is to get people actually registered,” explained Rolanda Ward, member, Niagara Falls Health Equity Task Force.

The Falls Health Equity TaskForce and Niagara Falls Peacemakers are on a mission to educate city residents about the April 14 pop up clinic at True Bethel Church on South Avenue and 11th Street.

The church is teaming with Rite Aid to vaccinate 300 people with the Pfizer vaccine.

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True Bethel Church on South Avenue and 11th Street.

But at the same time, Ward says they want to educate the public about the importance of the covid vaccine, especially if there is so-called ‘vaccine hesitancy’.

“Why are people in communities resistant?,” questioned Buckley.

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Rolanda Ward, member of Niagara Falls Health Equity Task Force.

“I think we are using the wrong word — resistant — so I want us to use the word that we are trying to provide vaccine access — because resistance makes it seems as if the people in the neighborhood are saying no,” replied Ward.

The Niagara County Health Department says more than 69,000 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far.

But the health department says it does not have a break down of zip codes at this time.

Falls Peacemaker Erza Scott says by bringing the clinic right into the heart of this falls neighborhood will help those who otherwise wouldn't have access.

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Erza Scott, Niagara Falls Peacemakers.

“Poverty, you know, it creates many issues,” Scott reflected.

Scott says they want to make sure people have the right vaccine information.

“There's a lot of information to where this false information is getting out there — you have some good information — you also have some people who are on the fence,” explained Scott.

“So what would you say to someone that has those fears?,” Buckley asked.

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Volunteers talking to a Niagara Falls resident about COVID vaccine.

“I would say we're here to help you — we're here to you make an informed decision,” replied Ward.

A city of Niagara Falls resident she is thrilled a pop up clinic is coming to her neighborhood because she had suffered so much COVID loss in her family.

“So I urged everyone to go get vaccinated,” declared Marsha McWilson.

McWilson ays she lost family members to COVID, including her sister. She's already been vaccinated and says it is key to fighting the virus.

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Marsha McWilson, Niagara Falls resident.

“It is very vital that it is in their neighborhood — that they have no excuse not to take the shot. The shot is so simple — you don't even feel it — sometimes we think of all this big stuff versus just getting a shot to save your life,” McWilson noted.

McWilson says she's so heartbroken by the loss of her sister to COVID, she is writing a song dedicated to living through the pandemic that has brought her tragedy.

“You have came through and tore my life apart,” belted out McWilson.

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Volunteers go door-to-door in city of Niagara Falls to educate on vaccines.

But the task force says only 300-doses at next week’s pop up clinic is not enough.

Ward says the task force is hoping the state approves three additional pop up sites right in the city of Niagara Falls to reach even more people.