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Dr. Mona Fouad’s outreach to low-income areas stress COVID-19 vaccines

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Mona Fouad, M.D., director of the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). (FILE)
By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times

Mona Fouad, M.D., director of the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), said she and her staff are working to provide the community as much information as possible about the COVID-19 vaccines.

“One of the first things we did when the COVID-19 [pandemic] started, was to do mobile testing,” she said. “We went to the communities, set up sites in the neighborhoods, and worked with churches and leaders to do more than 6,000 tests. We thought we needed to go back and do the same for the vaccine, but it has been a little bit different.”

Dr. Fouad said the MHRC has worked jointly with UAB Health Systems and the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) to make vaccinations available in the community, including sites at A.H. Parker High School in West Birmingham and Cathedral of the Cross Apostolic Overcoming Holy (AOH) Church of God in the Roebuck/Center Point area of East Birmingham.

“We are looking at ZIP codes in Birmingham in low-income areas and starting with that list to get people registered for the vaccine,” Dr. Fouad said. “We’ve developed fliers, door hangers, yard signs, and social media campaigns, so people will know where to go for vaccines and who to call if they have any challenges in getting those.”

More African Americans are needed to participate in vaccine trials “because we need information as to how they react to the vaccines, as well as to give others in the community confidence,” Dr. Fouad said.

“Among the African Americans who have participated in vaccine trials, none developed COVID-19,” she added. “If we had more people and a higher percentage, then every African American would feel confident and say, ‘it is even more effective for me.’”

To register for a vaccination, call UAB Hospital at 205-975-1881. To get additional COVID-19 information, call the UAB GuideSafe Hotline at 205-934-SAFE (7233).