The vaccination clinic team included, from left, Dr. Tracey Veal, Dr. Jerry Abraham, Rodman Miles and Dawnesha Beavers. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

People of color representing every hue in the rainbow descended upon the campus of Bethany Baptist Church of West Los Angeles on October 29 to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shoots.

The afternoon fair, hosted by Bethany Baptist, Baldwin Bethany Community Development Corporation and Kedren Vaccines, also offered blood pressure, diabetes and glucose screenings as well as non-perishable food boxes, Visa gift cards, and refreshments courtesy of Earle’s Grill on Crenshaw Boulevard.

“We wanted to help our community here in Baldwin Village and the Crenshaw area by utilizing our facilities to sponsor a vaccination clinic,” said Rodman Miles, director of Baldwin Bethany CDC, who was appointed to oversee the event by Bethany Pastor L.A. Kessee.

Pastor L.A. Kessee greets church volunteers Laura Levi, left, and Vanessa Scott. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

“After hearing Dr. [Jerry] Abraham speak about taking Kedren mobile units out into locations such as ours, I invited Kedren and they invited Charles Drew (School of Medicine), so we’re forming a partnership to aid the Crenshaw community and we want to continue doing this into 2022,” noted Miles, who added that attendees also enjoyed hot dogs, fries and beverages from Earle’s.

“And everything is free because whatever we need to do to give folks incentive to get the vaccine, that’s what we’ll do,” he said.

The clinic provided another opportunity for Abraham, director of Kedren Vaccines, and his staff to fulfill their self-described mission of inoculating every community of color in L.A. To that end, the Kedren team presented those who came out with the choice of the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and booster shot.

Since the vaccines became available, Abraham have partnered with houses of worship and community groups to sponsor clinics throughout the city. In his opinion, no place is off-limits when it comes to distributing the shot to stop the pandemic.

“This is how we get the job done the Kedren way – you meet people where they are. We meet people where we live, work, worship, play and where we go to school. We go and we vaccinate the homebound. That’s how you get the job done,” insisted Abraham.

“You don’t sit around and wait in an ivory tower or in some medical mecca and hope and twiddle our thumbs hoping it will all work out.   When we expect things to work out like that, people die. The pandemic happened the way it did and we’re not going to allow that to happen again,” he asserted.

Beatrice Acy receives a vaccine shot during the clinic. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

“So, from now on, we’re going to democratize health care and take it outside of the four walls of hospitals and clinics. That’s how we’re going to make our community healthier, happier, live their best life, their highest quality life. That’s ultimately all we’re trying to do – marching along to the herd immunity that we need in order to end this pandemic.”

And even though COVID-19 infections and death rates are decreasing, Abraham is still urging vaccinations because the cases in the African Americans and Latino communities remain higher than in other ethnicities.

“We’re asking you to get vaccinated – not only for yourself, not only for your family and your loved ones and community – but because we know this is the best way to be protected and for all of us to be safe,” said Abraham.

Dr. Tracey Veal of L.A. County Department of Public Health echoed Abraham’s plea, saying, “We really need to get the Black community vaccinated. We’re at 56% vaccination rates and everybody else is at 70% and 80%. We’ve got to get it done for the Black and Brown people before the surge.”

The Rev. Dawnesha K. Beaver, Kedren Vaccines program manager, characterized the vaccination campaign by plainly stating, “The systematic impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color will only worsen if we do not ensure that every eligible youth and adult has access to these life-saving medications.”