COVID vaccine clinic focuses on the underserved

Thursday, February 11, 2021

A Durham-based COVID-19 vaccination event on Saturday was focused on helping at-risk residents who live in underserved communities. 

The location was Durham Medical Center at 4220 N Roxboro St from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both Duke Outpatient Clinic and Duke Primary Care at Durham Medical Center partnered to make this event possible. Doctors from each clinic volunteered their time to help administer the vaccine, answer questions, and monitor the post vaccine room. Staff were very involved with education and clinic flow to help the patients move through the process. 

Reaching underserved demographics and making sure patients make these appointments can be challenging. The clinics specifically offered appointments to those who are 65 and older, in zip codes identified as high-risk. 

“Our staff made a lot of phone calls,” explained Duke Outpatient Clinic Medical Director, Dr. Lynn Bowlby. “We targeted those specifically without an online MyChart account because that can be one indicator of the underserved.”

Turns out a total of 277 patients received their first vaccination on Saturday. The 260 vaccines that were given were able to generate 277 vaccines with careful use. The clinics will continue to hold these vaccine opportunities for the next two weeks. Then they will take a week off followed by three weeks straight to administer the second vaccination. 

“We were so proud to see this event be so successful,” says Dr. Bowlby. “To see the waiting room full of African American patients, and at the end of the day knowing that 85% of those vaccinated were African American was so encouraging. We know that most of the administered vaccines have gone to white patients, making this clinic even more valuable.”