Press Advisory: Launch of Vaccine Initiative to Assist Elderly City Residents to Sign Up for COVID-19 Vaccine

Press Advisory: Launch of Vaccine Initiative to Assist Elderly City Residents to Sign Up for COVID-19 Vaccine

Not nearly enough of the eligible elderly Baltimore residents who want the vaccine are getting it. While 15% of white residents and 20% of Asian residents have gotten a first dose of the vaccine, only 5% of Black residents have gotten even a first dose. This is not because of a lack of interest in the vaccine.
 
Today, at 1:30 p.m.at Simmons Memorial Baptist Church (601 Cumberland St., Baltimore, MD 21217), I will be joining former Baltimore NAACP Head Marvin “Doc” CheathamPastor Duane Simmons of Simmons Memorial Baptist ChurchDr. Daniel Howard, MD, family physician affiliated with University Midtown; and Dr. Joseph Sakran, Director of General Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, to announce the launch of an unofficial coronavirus vaccine hotline to guide and assist city residents who are 80 and older who want to get the vaccine and are experiencing difficulty signing up
 
We have each encountered individuals 80 and older, nearly all of them African American, who have still not gotten an appointment for a vaccine despite trying their best to obtain one. We will do a demo assist call with one such 84-year-old -- by phone -- as part of sharing some of those stories and explaining how the hotline will work. Manned by volunteers, we will submit requests for our elderly neighbors, help obtain appointments, and assist with transportation. We will also keep track of delays and obstacles and share those stories with the media to help identify impediments and press to resolve them. 
 
The vaccine rollout in Baltimore City continues to be frustrating. Current city data indicates that under 56,000 first doses have been administeredwhile over 110,000 have been given in Baltimore County. The City has also administered the lowest percentage in the State of the supply our city has been provided. Only 17,800 African-Americans have received a first dose in Baltimore City. We hope this hotline will help close these gaps. 
 
Starting at 1:30 PM, the hotline will be open to city residents who are over 80. Those who need help can call or text 410-929-6024 or email unofficial.vaccine[email protected]
 
All of us will be available for comment at 1:30 and separately if needed.  
 
Very best,
Thiru