CEC Registers Neighbors for COVID-19 Vaccine
On Wednesday, April 7, Caprese Wilson was working her regular job as a construction worker in the Poppleton neighborhood of West Baltimore. Just as she was taking off her hard hat for a break, a group of women wearing colorful scrubs and carrying clipboards rounded the corner and asked if she would like to get signed up for the COVID-19 vaccine.
After weeks of trying to get an appointment at one of the mass vaccination clinics, Wilson was overjoyed to talk to a live person and get an appointment for the vaccine.
“This is so great!” she said after confirming her vaccine appointment. “It has been so difficult finding a time slot and they came right up to me on my lunch break and just handed one to me. This is something that everybody needs.”
Maddie Boyes, RN (right), and Hayley Carper, RN (center), two students at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, help William Lipmann, a West Baltimore community member, get registered for a vaccine appointment.
Wilson has seen firsthand how essential the vaccine is to fighting the pandemic. Early this year, her father nearly died after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
“This vaccine is so important for everyone to protect not only themselves, but everybody else around,” she said. “Not just essential workers or older people, but everybody. People need to stay safe because it is not a joke.”
The group of women who signed up Wilson are students at the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON). Led by Kelly Doran, PhD, RN, an associate professor at UMSON, this group has been working with members of the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Community Engagement Center (CEC) to canvass the surrounding neighborhoods and get every Baltimore community member they meet an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We’re finding that it’s not that people in West Baltimore don’t want to get vaccinated, it’s that the process of getting signed up is confusing,” says Doran, who also is the director of health and wellness at UMB’s CEC. “There are multiple websites you can sign up on, some people don’t have internet access, they don’t know what number to call, or they just need somebody to sit with them and answer their question. I think it’s really important to make that human connection to help people get vaccinated so we can keep everybody safe.”