COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Brookland Baptist Church has vaccinated thousands of Midlands residents since launching their vaccine site last week.
On Wednesday, the church celebrated a special vaccination, with 103-year-old West Columbia resident Inez Smith receiving her shot.
“It means everything,” Jeanette Cokley, Smith’s caretaker, said after Inez received the vaccine.
Smith said getting the vaccination was a blessing, with her caretaker adding that she felt like Brookland Baptist rolled out the red carpet for them and made it extremely easy for the 103-year-old to get the vaccine.
Cokley said Inez battled COVID-19 in July, and she’s been waiting for clearance from her doctors before getting the vaccine.
“Today was a blessing for it being easy,” Cokley said. “It was easy access getting her here, the chair was provided to get her in—I feel like they rolled out the red carpet in getting her in today.”
The church had a wheelchair waiting for Smith, and within 10 minutes she received her first shot. Reverend Charles Jackson Jr. gave Smith a bouquet of roses to celebrate getting the vaccine.
“One of the issues that we noticed that our seniors or elders were having complications or difficulty registering for the vaccine,” Reverend Jackson Jr. said.
Reverend Jackson Jr. said the goal of the vaccine site is to increase access and trust in the vaccine.
“There was a little hesitancy, and I think having the African American church participate in this endeavor with Lexington Medical Center helps to give our people an added level of confidence,” Reverend Jackson Jr. said.
Reverend Jackson Jr. noted that since launching last Thursday, the church vaccinates around 800 people a day. He said that Brookland Baptist also has a dedicated team to answer phone calls to make it easier for the elderly population or others to navigate the system.
Lexington Medical Center clinicians administer the vaccine inside the church’s Health and Wellness Center Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Appointments are required.
Lexington Medical Center said there are two ways to sign up. Go to //LexMed.com/vaccine and click on “Request Form” to register for the vaccine by providing information including name, date of birth, and email address. The hospital will upload the email addresses to the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS). Then, individuals will receive an email from VAMS allowing them to complete their registration and schedule a date and time for a vaccine appointment.
Those who do not have email or access to a computer can call (803) 739 – 3363 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, and a representative will assist in setting up an appointment.