Vaccination clinic coming to Cedar Grove nonprofit

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 4:40 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - As Governor John Bel Edwards lifts the statewide mask mandate, and COVID-related hospitalizations drop substantially, LSU Health Shreveport continues its aggressive efforts to vaccinate the community — protecting individuals from a virus that still poses a public health threat.

On Thursday (Oct. 28), LSU Health is opening a vaccine clinic at Common Ground, a nonprofit in Shreveport’s Cedar Grove neighborhood.

Here at the details for the clinic:

  • Location: 6806 Southern Avenue, Shreveport
  • Time: 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • What to bring: ID and and vaccination card (if possible)

According to state vaccination data, the Cedar Grove community has a significantly lower vaccination rate when compared to the state and country. Data shows between just 23 and 26 percent of individuals have gotten the shot.

Juxtapose that figure with the state average, 47 percent, and the national rate, 57.5 percent.

Dr. John Vanchiere, a physician with LSU Health Shreveport, and Sarah Shoup, director of operations and programming at Common Ground, believe the reason for lower vaccination rates is multifaceted.

“Transportation is a big issue, a lot of people don’t have cars, so getting somewhere outside of their neighborhood to get the vaccine is very difficult,” Shoup explained. “It’s a lot easier for people to access the vaccine in their own backyard.”

Vanchiere said historic mistrust in medical institutions is also a major factor preventing shots from getting in arms.

Common Ground to hold COVID-19 vaccination clinic Oct. 28 in Cedar Grove, a Shreveport neighborhood with one of the city's lowest vaccination rates.

“It really boils down to trust,” he said. “The closer our relationships can be be with folks one-on-one, answering questions and being available to most effective.”

In fact, even before bringing doses of the vaccine to the nonprofit, Vanchiere fielded a series of questions at Common Ground on the vaccine’s efficacy, safety and side-effects.

“Getting out in the community helps me get a pulse on where they are, what their understanding is and what their concerns are,” the doctor explained.

And with Common Ground deeply embedded in Cedar Grove, Vanchiere and Shoup are confident vaccine-hesitant community members will feel more comfortable getting the life-saving shot in their own backyard.

“Common Ground has been in the neighborhood for over 20 years, so when you have decades of relationships with people, that really matters,” added Shoup. “That really does make a difference in the comfort level.”

Officials with LSU Health Shreveport and Common Ground are both convinced the lagging vaccination numbers can be attributed to a variety of issues - from a lack of trust in the medical community, to unreliable modes of transportation, even a lack of access to information.

By bringing the vaccine directly into this neighborhood, vaccination leaders are confident individuals will feel more comfortable getting vaccinated at an organization with deep-roots in the community.

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