October 15, 2021

Acqua NYC

Fit And Go Forward

Event at west Louisville YMCA aims to increase COVID vaccination

A major effort to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates in west Louisville launches Saturday with a health fair at the Republic Bank Foundation YMCA on West Broadway that will feature cash prizes, gift cards, screenings and free COVID-19 vaccines and tests.

“We’re looking forward to a great west Louisville turnout,” said Jennifer Hancock, president of Volunteers of America Mid-States, which is helping sponsor the event.

Hancock and other sponsors held a press call Wednesday to announce the event called “Healthy West Lou.”

Kentucky COVID update:2,358 new coronavirus cases, 34 more deaths announced Tuesday

The event, from 1 to 4 p.m., is being held at the YMCA in west Louisville because that area has some of the community’s lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates and also, because many residents have limited access to health care because of transportation or lower incomes, organizers said.

Concern about improving health and access to health in the community is a key mission of the YMCA at 1720 W. Broadway that opened in 2019, said Steve Tarver, president of the YMCA of Greater Louisville.

“Doing something like this is the reason we built the place, plain and simple,” said Tarver, of the new west Louisville facility.

Steve Tarver is the president/CEO of the YMCA of Greater Louisville. 12/4/19

Further, many Medicaid enrollees live in the area and appear to have a higher rate of vaccine hesitancy, said Tom Stephens, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Health Plans, also a sponsor.

For that reason, members of his association — health insurance companies that oversee most of the care for Medicaid enrollees in Kentucky — are stepping up outreach efforts to encourage vaccination in a group that has lagged behind the rest of Kentucky in taking the COVID-19 vaccine, he said.

Hancock said the focus Saturday is on health and having fun.

Giveaways include boxes of healthy food and gift cards for Kroger and Walmart, Hancock said. Also, the YMCA will offer a six-month family membership as a prize.

In addition, 10 people who get vaccinated at the Saturday health fair will get the chance to win $500.

Staff from the Louisville Metro Health and Wellness Department will be on hand to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, Hancock said. Both require two shots several weeks apart.

Dr. Kwane Watson

And free health screenings will be available including dental checks from Dr. Kwane Watson, a west Louisville dentist and founder of KARE Mobile dentistry.

Watson said he’s ready to take on a public role of encouraging more people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 after he recently experienced his own bout with the virus that left him seriously ill.

Watson said a hectic work schedule and launching his mobile dental business nationwide left him so busy he didn’t make time to get the vaccine.

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