Boys and Girls Clubs of Portland host COVID-19 vaccine clinics in local communities this summer
Events aim to address hesitancy and transportation barriers through neighborhood-based clinics
More than 2.2 million Oregonians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but work continues to reach those who still have not gotten their shot.
Vaccine hesitancy and other barriers like transportation have meant less demand for doses, and as larger vaccination sites scale back to account for this shift, smaller community-based clinics are becoming more popular.
To fit the community need, Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland is hosting walk-in neighborhood-based vaccine clinics throughout the summer. The clinics focus on serving the Latinx community, immigrants, refugees, Black, Indigenous and other people of color who are eligible to receive the vaccine in Oregon, given higher instances of hesitancy and lower vaccination rates among these communities.
People who live in the New Columbia, Rockwood and Lents neighborhoods can receive the vaccine in an accessible, familiar Boys & Girls Club location, alleviating some transportation hurdles that might have prevented some Oregonians from attending mass vaccination clinics.
“Hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics at our Clubs this summer was a natural progression of the work we started in 2020 to address the immediate needs of the kids and families we serve,” says Terry Johnson, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland, which has been part of the community for 75 years. “This included providing over 190,000 meals and snacks, relief funding to over 500 families and support services like mental health counseling and COVID testing last year.”
Anchoring the Boys & Girls Clubs’ vaccine initiative is a coalition of nonprofit organizations, including the Urban League of Portland, Latino Network, IRCO, Hacienda Community Development Corporation and El Programa Hispano (EPHC), which play a critical role in ensuring the clinics reach the communities they hope to serve, through outreach and on-site translation services.
The Clubs are a safe space in these communities and the presence of coalition partners and volunteers at the clinics also help to address vaccine hesitancy, Johnson says.
“When an individual visits one of our clinics, they are greeted by someone who looks like them – someone who speaks their language,” Johnson says. “Particularly for an individual who may be hesitant or nervous about receiving the vaccine, the ability to interact with friendly volunteers in a diverse and welcoming environment can help ease concerns.”
The next community vaccination clinic will be at the Regence Boys & Girls Club in North Portland’s New Columbia neighborhood on Saturday, July 10 from 12 to 4 p.m. To learn more about upcoming clinics, you can visit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland’s website or sign up for an appointment online.
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon proudly supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland
Regence shares the Boys & Girls Clubs’ support for our communities and mission to empower all young people to discover their full potential as caring, engaged and responsible community members.
Over the years, our funding has supported the Regence Boys & Girls Club in North Portland, which serves hundreds of youth and families every year. Since 2006, we’ve donated almost $850,000 to help the organization, and more than 150 of our employees have donated time and money to its programs.
We have also worked on both national and regional initiatives to address vaccine accessibility and hesitancy, as well as supporting rapid deployment of vaccines to communities most in need. We’ve partnered with organizations like Medical Teams International to mobilize vaccine clinics in some of the most rural and underserved parts of our state, in addition to our partnership to ensure vaccine access through the Boys & Girls Clubs.