Hallelujah Fest: Raising Our Voices Against COVID

By October 10, 2021Local NewsWIRE

(SAVANNAH, GA) Healthy Savannah and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia are partnering with historically Black churches across the Savannah area to help raise awareness of the COVID-19 and flu vaccines.

“It’s vitally important that people have access to the vaccine, and to straight answers to their questions about COVID-19,” said Nichele Hoskins, communication manager at Healthy Savannah. “By partnering with several faith-based communities, Healthy Savannah continues to help get information and vaccine to Black and Hispanic people who continue to be hard hit by the virus.”

Community events to be held in October and November include a cooking class, a food festival, and community concerts. They share the common theme of helping bring people together safely to celebrate, remember, dispel myths, and express solidarity and hope during the coronavirus pandemic.

Schedule of Events

Take the Shot for the Community Campaign
Monthly-Ongoing October – December 2021
Little Bryan Missionary Baptist Church (LBBC)
509 E Gwinnett St., Savannah, GA 31401
More info: leeamdrew@comcast.net, https://www.connectsavannah.com/savannah/little-bryan-missionary-baptist-church/Location?oid=15418010

9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021
Basic Tabernacle Assembly/Garden City Housing Team
Bazemore Park, 353-421 Big Hill Road, Garden City, GA 31408
More info: gardencityhousingteaminc@gmail.com, www.supportgcht.org

Seafood Festival
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021
Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church
1604 Burroughs St., Savannah, GA 31415
Sat., Oct. 9, 2021
More info: oneilsmith7@att.net

3:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021
Kingdom Life Christian Fellowship Church
425 W Montgomery Cross Rd., Savannah, GA 31406
More info: pastoryolanda@kingdomlifesav.org, https://kingdomlifesav.org/

Hallelujah Fest
Sun., Oct. 31, 2021
Time: TBA
Connor’s Temple Baptist Church
509 W Gwinnett St., Savannah, GA 31401
More info: pastortjs@aol.com, https://www.ctbcsav.org/

COVID-19 Awareness Community Concert
Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021
Time: TBA
St. John Baptist, “The Mighty Fortress”
2415 E. DeRenne Avenue, Savannah, GA 31406
More info: georgelee3@aol.com https://www.facebook.com/1MightyFortress/

Asbury Covid-19 and Flu Community Event
12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday, November 7, 2021
Asbury United Methodist w/AAHIRC
1201 Abercorn St., Savannah, GA 31401
More info: carolyn.fletcher2012@gmail.com, juanitaSavannah@gmail.com, asburyumcsavannah.com

Holiday Cooking Class and Turkey Giveaway
Tips on preparing a holiday meal and planning a COVID-safe family gathering
10 a.m. – Noon
Saturday, Nov. 13
St. Phillip Monumental A.M.E w/Community Help, Inc.
1112 Jefferson St., Savannah, GA 31401
More info: bpolite02@gmail.com, https://communityhelpinc.org/

Dispelling Myths and Promoting Real Awareness
4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 13
Greater Gaines Chapel AME w/Kayton/Frazier Housing Community
1006 May St., Savannah, GA 31415
More info: jazz.williams1522@gmail.com, blackrose.nell@gmail.com, https://www.greatergainessavannah.com/

“Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has full FDA approval and, along with seasonal flu shots, is free and readily available, we are hoping these events will help increase vaccine confidence and lead to fewer COVID-19 and flu-related hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Elsie Smalls, operations manager at Healthy Savannah. “While the Savannah area has one of the highest vaccination rates in the state, we know that there are areas of our city where social vulnerability, socioeconomic status and language barriers may present obstacles to healthcare access and acceptance.”

In September, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ranked Chatham County as the Georgia county with the third-highest vaccination rate with 41.5 percent of the population fully vaccinated and 71.6 percent of those over 65 fully vaccinated. But Chatham County was also ranked more vulnerable to COVID-19 than 96 percent of U.S. counties, according to Act Now Coalition. The independent 501©(3) nonprofit says communities with higher vulnerability have pre-existing economic, social, and physical conditions that may make it hard to respond to and recover from a COVID outbreak.

The Chatham County Health Department is offering free flu vaccines to anyone over six months of age. The organization says vaccination is particularly important for those at high risk of complications from flu, including adults 65 and older, children younger than five, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions such as asthma and diabetes. Officials say flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time. For more information, visit gachd.org/flu.

Appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations and Pfizer booster shots, as recommended by the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Georgia Department of Public Health, are also available at the main health department clinic at 1395 Eisenhower Drive, the COVID-19 Vaccination Annex at 1249 Eisenhower Drive, the West Chatham clinic at 171 Crossroads Parkway at Gulfstream, and downtown at Fire Station #3 at 121 East Oglethorpe Avenue. Visit chdcovidvax.org for more details and to schedule an appointment or call the COVID-19 Vaccination Phone Bank at 912-230-5506.

Last October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tapped recipients of the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Grant to reduce the risk of African Americans contracting the seasonal flu. Flu season begins in October and runs into the spring. In addition to its $3.4 million REACH grant awarded in 2018, the CDC awarded the YMCA of Coastal Georgia and Healthy Savannah $171,336. The year-long flu grant period ended Oct. 1, but work to reduce the risk of flu will continue as Healthy Savannah addresses the disproportionate effect of flu and COVID-19 in Black and Brown communities.

In April, the CDC awarded the YMCA of Coastal Georgia and Healthy Savannah $544,848 to increase COVID vaccine awareness, access, and acceptance among Black residents of Chatham County. Under this COVID prevention grant, Healthy Savannah is engaging influential community members to help fill information gaps about the COVID vaccine, educate community members about the risks of getting flu and COVID, and foster stronger connections, communication, and trust between people who need vaccines and vaccine providers.

For more information, or to learn more about becoming a Community Health Advocate, contact Dr. Elsie Smalls, COVID-Flu operations manager, at elsie@healthysavannah.org, or (843) 323-9997, or Nichele Hoskins, COVID-Flu communication manager at nichele@healthysavannah.org or (205) 222-2030.

Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade Public Relations® Inc.