Apr. 22—The basement of the Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ became the site of a pop-up vaccination clinic on Wednesday, with six volunteers from Frostburg University giving out shots of the Moderna vaccine to roughly 170 people.
But the clinic was prepared to administer even more first doses, which were provided by Dr. Andrew Zarick and his wife Debbi Zarick, RN, of the Frederick Community Action Agency. The FCAA health team has been working to provide vaccines to multiple underserved populations in Frederick.
The clinic was organized by Global Necessity, a nonprofit organization that trauma therapist April Sandi founded a year ago to help aid the homeless population during the coronavirus pandemic. Yogamour co-founders Geni Donnelly and Beccah Bartlett teamed up with Sandi to reach out to community organizations and individuals including 'I Believe in Me', Centro Hispano and Solid Ground Recovery to get the word out about the Pop-Up Clinic.
"There's just a huge need, and Maryland is not doing it fast enough," Sandi said.
While the clinic was open to the public, Sandi hoped to specifically target diminished populations such as homeless people, Spanish-speaking families and individuals and Frederick Rescue Mission clients.
But by 3 p.m. on Wednesday, there were still around 60 doses left, which are only effective for a few hours after preparation. Volunteers were able to find about 12 other people to take the vaccine. Then, Dr. Zarick was able to find another 20 people to vaccinate through Centro Hispano.
Earlier in the day, Rev. Dr. Barbara Kerhsner Daniel of the Reformed United Church of Christ and volunteers with Global Necessity walked into downtown Frederick businesses Wednesday afternoon and began inviting employees to come in and get vaccinated. Sandi said they were successful in vaccinating some students from the Paul Mitchell School and employees from The Tasting Room and Starbucks.
"Our goal is to get everybody ... that works downtown vaccinated," Sandi said. "So we're just going to keep doing it here until we're done."
Rev. Daniel said she was happy to provide the space for the clinic, which she had done a few weeks prior for a Johnson & Johnson clinic.
Andrei Hoffman, 16, said he signed up for an appointment at the church after failing to find appointments elsewhere in the state. He has been monitoring several websites and was happy to see a location in Frederick instead of out in Baltimore or Hagerstown.
"I was expecting to wait in a long line," Hoffman said, adding he was surprised how quick the whole process went.
Sandi said that while there was a line out the door earlier in the afternoon, the operation began moving quicker once the volunteers found an efficient way to handle registration.
Matt Edens said he too appreciated the fast nature of the clinic. He had previously registered in Hagerstown, but he, his wife and children were registered across three separate days. Rather than drive to Hagerstown three times, he figured he and his wife would come to the church instead.
"Everybody was really helpful," he said.
The clinic will administer second doses on May 19. Sandi said they are hoping to hold more clinics, but specific dates or times haven't been finalized. FCAA and Yogamour are still looking for sites for future clinics. Interested venues can contact Geni Donnelly at 240-285-7812.
In the meantime, Sandi hopes to help more of the homeless population she serves, whom she feels have been forgotten during the pandemic.
"We need more organizations to step up and help the homeless in this community because once the funds are done from COVID, all those people are going to go from the hotels ... out onto the street," she said. "We need organizations to step up ... and send more case managers to help this population."
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the number of shots administered, doses available and doses leftover. Follow Erika Riley on Twitter: @ej_riley.
Follow Erika Riley on Twitter: @ej_riley