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COVID-19 vaccination clinic and food drive event aims to increase vaccination rate and raise awareness about hunger in Madison County

booster vaccine.jpg
Corinne Boyer
WEKU/Ohio Valley ReSource
A pharmacist administering a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Last week, the Madison County Health Department, along with elected officials from Berea and Richmond announced a joint COVID-19 vaccination clinic and canned food drive. On Thursday, Nov. 18, any dose of the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines will be available to the public and those getting a vaccine are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items for food banks in Madison County.

The event will be held from 2 pm until 6 pm at the Armed Forces Reserve Center at 233 Battlefield Memorial Highway (HWY 421) in Richmond.

Organizers of “Thankful Thursday” said the goal of the event is to bring awareness to hunger in Madison County and to help raise the county’s vaccination rate, which is below 50%.

Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley said the rate of food insecurity in the county is nearly three percent.

“That doesn't sound like a lot, three percent. But when you think that we have over 90,000 people win Madison County, that's almost 3000 People that have food insecurities,” Fraley said. “So everything that we can do individually helps.”

Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe said the event is about community.

“Being able to offer another way for our community to be vaccinated is what our healthcare professionals ask for,” Blythe said. “They appreciate the food and the prayers, but this is what they asked us for.”

Madison County Vaccine Food drive.jpg
Corinne Boyer
From left to right: Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley, Director of Grace Now Betty Plowman, Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe, Madison County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor and Grace Now Office Manager Melissa Blaine.

Madison County Health Department Nursing Director Ava Wright said Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots will be available.

“So if your primary series was Pfizer, and you choose to get a Madonna booster, we will follow those guidelines, as well as the Johnson and Johnson or Janssen vaccine.” Wright said.

Scheduling the vaccination dose ahead of time is available on the Madison County Health Department’s website.

Grace Now is a food bank in Richmond. Melissa Blaine is the office manager and said nonperishable food items are needed.

“We see more homeless and people who aren’t able to cook. We try to get nonperishable with the poptop, the lids.”

Grace Now’s Director Betty Plowman said during the pandemic, the pantry has seen more clients, including people who’ve been evicted and are living in cars and other situations.

“They may have a home, but they don’t have the ways of cooking because their electric is turned off.”

Food donation locations will be open at the Madison County Courthouse, Richmond City Hall and Berea City Hall.

For people who may have questions about the vaccine, Wright said nurses will be available to answer questions at the event.

“They're also welcome to call and talk — I'm available. We have other nurses available to answer those questions to help support their decision to receive the vaccine,” Wright said.

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