OCH Regional Medical Center hosting vaccination clinics at nonprofit and two churches in Starkville to get shots to people in rural areas

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Saturday, OCH Regional Medical Center and Oktibbeha County Emergency Management are hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics at multiple different locations throughout Starkville.

The goal is to make those shots available to people who are either unable to or potentially unwilling to come to the hospital.

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“Medicine is the cure,” said Rev. Maurico Clark of Blackjack Missionary Baptist
Church. “We believe that God works through medicine.”

That’s the message the local pastor hopes to impart, not only to members of his congregation but all of Oktibbeha County as his church prepares to host one of those clinics. The church has been all but empty since March 2020 and the clinic will be the church’s first event since the start of the pandemic.

“I myself, who have received the first round of the vaccination and waiting for my second round, want to be out front and leading those that are of the household of faith,” Rev. Clark said. “To make sure that we are secure and doing what we can (to help).”

The three vaccination clinics will be at The J.L. King Center, Blackjack and 16th Section Missionary Baptist Church.

“We’re not seeing as many people signing up for the vaccine, we’re not seeing as many people coming here for their shot,” said OCH Interim Cheif Nursing Officer Savannah Brown. “And we want to get that shot out there to the public.”

Those interested can show up Saturday at any of the locations without an appointment. Rev. Clark says he is especially passionate about being able to make the shots available to those in the more rural parts of the county.

“When the pandemic hit for many of those students and people that live in the rural areas, internet access, broadband is not readily available,” he said.

Rev. Clark, whose congregation is made up entirely of African American members, also sees this as an opportunity to address long-standing concerns.

“There have been some things that many African Americans have encountered, which brings the fear of trusting medicine, of trusting other areas or entities [meant for] bringing some help and some assistance,” he explained.

There are also new concerns to address in the wake of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine being put on hold after six women developed blood clots. Those six cases were out of the nearly seven million doses administered in the U.S.

“We have given thousands of [Pfizer and Moderna] vaccines out of OCH and I have had no one have that type of reaction at this time,” Brown says.

Rev. Clark says his goal is to provide people with the best information available regarding both their spiritual and physical health.

“So that we’re able to stop or even eliminate how COVID is running rampant across the globe right now,” he said.

The J.L. King Center will run their clinic from 8 AM to 10 AM, Blackjack Missionary Baptist Church will go from 11 AM to 1 PM and 16th Section Missionary Baptist Church will run their’s from 2 PM to 4 PM.

Those second doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be scheduled for May 6th and 7th.