“I feel protected and I am protecting those around me.”
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The Burma Center in Battle Creek recently hosted a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in collaboration with Bronson Healthcare, Grace Health and United Way of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region Catalyzing Community Giving Cohort.
The clinic, held on Saturday, February 27, welcomed 205 adults age 65 and over, who each had appointments to receive a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Burma Center, Voces of Battle Creek, City of Springfield City Manager’s office and Calhoun County Health Department helped to fill the vaccine schedule.
Bronson Healthcare and Grace Health staffed the clinic, with Bronson providing the vaccine. Interpreters were on-hand to help alleviate language barriers for members of the Burmese community as they went through the vaccination process.
“This particular vaccination clinic was intended to serve those who have various barriers, specifically targeting marginalized communities,” says Tha Par, executive director of the Burma Center. “It feels truly amazing that we could do something like this to serve the community by all working together. The anxiety that the elders feels is really sad. They are not able to feel safe to go out because they are more vulnerable, and I think this gives them hope.”
Vincent Than Tin was among those to receive the first dose. “I feel relieved,” says Tin. “I know it’s the first one, and I still need the second, but I feel protected and I am protecting those around me. It’s really nice we could do it here, especially for those that don’t speak English. Having an interpreter here is really helpful.”
Beth Washington, Bronson’s vice president of community health, equity and inclusion, says Bronson is committed to helping make sure everyone who wants the vaccine has access to it. “We recognize that it is important for us to meet people where they are,” says Washington. “When community groups work together like this, we can remove barriers and ensure no one is feeling left out.”