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“I am just so grateful” West Duluth vaccination clinic ensures minorities are not left behind

DULUTH, MN-- As vaccinations continue to be rolled out across the country, some eligible minority populations are having problems accessing their shot.

On Friday, a pop-up vaccination clinic in West Duluth had a goal of making sure everyone is able to get vaccinated.

Excitement and relief was felt at the Asbury United Methodist Church in West Duluth Friday as more than 40 people lined up to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

"It's been a long time coming, and I have some other health problems, so it will be nice," said Kathleen Gates, who got her first shot Friday.

For the Denfeld resident, getting the shot has been challenging and sometimes confusing.

Recently, she received a call from Duluth City Councilor Janet Kennedy about a clinic aimed at vaccinating minority groups, and she was relieved.

"They were calling people in the LGBT community, and I am just so grateful that she did. I got hooked up immediately," said Gates.

Councilor Kennedy and Health Equity Northland teamed up to make sure minority populations are not left behind in the vaccination process.

"A lot of people we are reaching are black, indigenous, people of color, LGBTQIAS+, people living with disabilities also those living in West Duluth that are having access problems," said Councilor Kennedy, who represents Duluth's 5th District.

Kenndy said clinics like these are crucial to making sure everyone who wants the vaccine can get a shot.

"That's really important in getting out to where people are and not expecting people to just to our amazing health institutions. We need to meet people right where they are at and really need to reach out to them at this point," said Councilor Kennedy.

For Gates, finally getting her first shot was a big step, but she is already looking forward to her second.

"This will give me a little peace of mind, but yes, it will be the second shot," said Gates.

As of Friday, 45% of adults 65 and older in Minnesota have received at least one vaccine shot.

If you like to learn more about Health Equity Northland's future events, click here.

Natalie Grant

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