The Center Hosts First Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

On March 12th, The Center partnered with Upstate Family Health Center Inc. to offer Utica’s first pop-up vaccination clinic that exclusively serves refugees. Together, we succeeded in vaccinating 200 refugees during this first day.

Executive Director Shelly Callahan spoke with WKTV about how The Center has strived to encourage refugees to get vaccinated by providing translated information that addresses their concerns.

"We’ve had to refine our messaging, and really address all those sorts of concerns that people have because our folks listen to news and news sources not only locally, but nationally, and internationally,” Callahan said. "We’ve also translated materials in I think 9 different languages, so that when people leave they can take information in their language about the vaccine they’ve received, side effects, all sorts of information about the vaccine. You know, when to come back…"

Richard Williams, Director of Nurse Services for Upstate Family Health Center Inc., believes that these clinics can help refugees access information about the COVID-19 vaccine and ultimately make it easier for them to get vaccinated. 

"What we seemed to have found is that there’s a lot of misconceptions within the community on the safety and the efficacy of the vaccine, so coming to the Center, having a vaccination site like this is hopefully going to be tearing down some of those barriers we’ve been getting to get the folks vaccinated."

The Center is also partnering with Chobani, who gave a case of yogurt to other products to anyone who had received a vaccine from the clinic. Because Chobani employs a large number of refugees, Community Engagement Manager Donald Brown said the company wanted to ensure that these employees could all get vaccinated.

"We’ve got a nice hefty population of refugees at the plant, and with everyone it’s all about getting the word out, and explaining the vaccination, so across the board, of making sure that folks are aware, that there’s a site available, and if they’re eligible to come down and get that vaccine."

The Center plans to host more vaccination clinics in the future. 

Originally published by WKTV, 3/12/21

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