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Local clergy, ministers hold pop up COVID vaccine clinic at Middletown church to reach minority community


MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Local clergy and ministers in Middletown are hoping a COVID-19 vaccine clinic they opened Tuesday will reach members of the minority community who may be hesitant to get vaccinated.

Pastor David Massey wanted his COVID-19 vaccination taped on his phone so he could show his congregation at Hopewell Baptist Church in Windsor.

“A lot of questions people have. Should I take it? Should I not? So they’ll watch me,” said Pastor Massey, who got his vaccine shot at the Cross Road AME Zion Church’s pop up clinic in Middletown. 

He’s hoping once his church members see he doesn’t have any side effects they’ll feel more comfortable getting the vaccine themselves.

“It should let them know hey get out there and take care of yourself and take care of others,” said Pastor Massey.

“Until you get it, you feel a little nervous something like that, but no it was quick,” said George Spivey of Middletown. “I had no problem with it.”

The Middletown church hosted this pop up clinic to try to reach more minorities who may be hesitant about the vaccine and concerned about going to a health care clinic.

“We have to understand that there are good historical reasons for that,” said Mayor Ben Florsheim, (D) Middletown. 

The city’s health department is running this clinic in cooperation with the Ministerial Alliance of Middletown.

“You have to bring it to the people,” said Rev. Robyn Anderson, a member of the Middletown Area Ministerial Alliance. “You have to bring it to the community and that the church is a place where people feel safe.”

Rev. Anderson is also leading by example. She was among more than fifty to get vaccinated today.

“It went fine,” said Angela Muckle of Middletown. “I don’t feel anything.”

The workers at the clinic also helped get some signed up over the phone if they had trouble navigating online registration.

The clinic was such a success they now hope to hold one every Tuesday and next week all sixty slots are already filled up. The city says that is the plan as long as it has the vaccine supply to support it.

“I think it’s a model that’s going to continue to work,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, (D) Connecticut.

It is also a model the Lt. Governor would like to see duplicated in other communities.

Folks left the clinic with a sticker saying “I got my COVID-19 vaccine!” and an appointment for their second dose already scheduled for March 9th.  

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