Edgewood College student Nanceny Fanny has lived at Bayview, an affordable housing community in Madison, for about as long as she can remember. Her family has been there for over two decades, and she says the community is very close-knit: “everyone there knows each other, interacts with each other.”
That family feel is exactly how Fanny knew when the community, incredibly diverse and predominantly housing people of color, needed something different. The vaccine reluctance she saw in her neighbors and friends, she thought, was in part because they didn’t have anyone who looked like them, or knew their communities, ready to listen and educate.
She decided that needed to change. And thus, a vaccine clinic in Bayview was born.
The second of its kind, the clinic, operating in partnership with Public Health Madison and Dane County, is running June 18 from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. at the Bayview Community Center, 601 Bay View in Madison. Those 12 and up are eligible, although minors will need a parent or guardian to attend with them. Second doses will be given during the same hours on Friday, July 9th.
The clinic will be offering all three of the common COVID-19 vaccines: Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna. Those in attendance will be able to choose which vaccine they receive.
While clinics have gone up around Madison since earlier this year, Bayview’s is unique because the staff are diverse and more reflective of the Bayview community than most other clinic offerings. There will be Hmong and Spanish translators present, and people varying in racial identity, gender, and immigration status to help those coming in. There will even be medical professionals from UW Health and SSM Health hosting education-related sessions for people who have questions or want more information before deciding if they will get the jab.
Those facets are intentional, Fanny said. She and the group responsible for the clinic are looking to target huge disparities in COVID-19 cases and vaccination rates amongst people of color, Black and Indigenous groups in particular.
“COVID-19 [is] affecting people of color at such disproportionate rates, so it was really important to me that we pair the vaccination with education, and make sure specifically that we have those accessible to those groups,” she said. “Representation really mattered to us, so we were really intentional with having a diverse clinic staff and translators.”
Public Health Madison and Dane County is partnering with Bayview for the clinic, providing vaccinators, doses, supplies. Fanny and Bayview are providing the space, their own volunteers, and are making sure word gets out to Bayview residents and people at large in the Madison area.
“One of our goals is for people to feel empowered through this experience, because I think it’s really important that people feel empowered enough to take ownership of their health care,” Fanny said. “You’re going to be more comfortable with people who look like you, who take the time to listen to you, people who understand your culture. We’re really trying to take the time to make sure that people feel heard, and they feel like they’ve been well educated before taking a vaccine.”