Vaccinations are in store for the entire South L.A. population if the staff of Kedren Health Center has their way. The organization vaccinated more than 500 people on April 10 at a mobile clinic stationed at First AME Church of Los Angeles.
That successful event is just one of many – both past and future – that will help Kedren fulfill its goal of meeting people where they are at, according to Dr. Jerry Abraham, director of Kedren Vaccines.
Abraham’s deep dedication was confirmed during the FAME event as community members of all ages received the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The clinic’s team, led by Abraham, included Sonny Tran, Kedren’s chief operations and information officer. Pharmacist Tsega Habte served as the liaison between FAME and Kedren. Representing the church were Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, First Lady Florence Boyd and Vickie Franklin, chair of FAME’s Commission on Health and Fitness.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti also supported the effort through his initiative to “vaccinate people where they live, work, worship, and play,” noted Abraham. The mayor’s office, along with Capri Maddox, executive director of the city’s Civil and Human Rights Department and a member of FAME, distributed bottled water, hand sanitizers and masks to all attendees.
Explaining why Kedren is so focused on vaccinations, Abraham said, “It’s because we were dying of COVID, we are getting infected – our nurses, our patients, our families, our communities. We didn’t have the luxury of choice. This is what we had to do to save our people and end this epidemic! We won’t stop – can’t stop – until we reach herd immunity and this pandemic is over.”
Translating his pledge into action, the medical director has guided Kedren staff in co-hosting vaccination clinics for SEIU members, in the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities and for laundry service essential frontline staff in Burbank. On April 17, his team plans special vaccinations for the Sri Lankan, Indian, and Pakistani communities at the Kedren facility in South L.A.
Two clinics will be held for underserved groups on April 24. The Latinx/Spanish-speaking community will be the focus of an event co-sponsored with Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) at the Lafayette Recreation Center and St. John’s Cathedral will be the site of a clinic aimed at vaccinating transsexual and non-binary individuals.
“We are also helping to vaccinate the American Indian and Alaskan Native communities on Saturday, May 1, at Los Angeles State Historic Park,” Abraham said. As for the future, he added, “We will be deploying our mobile fleet to the Jordan Downs, Nickerson Gardens, and Imperial Housing Developments.”
Several faith-based vaccination events are scheduled as well in partnership with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, King Fahad Mosque and the Islamic Foundation. Also, clinics will be staged in the L.A.’s garment district and at a number of food service and food processing plants.
Vowing that he’ll stay the course when it comes to vaccination, Abraham insisted, “We’re committed to taking the time to engage, educate, and vaccinate — and then we activate the community to help get more people vaccinated!”
From left are Pharmacist Tsega Habte, Dr. Abraham and Registered Nurse Vickie Franklin of FAME. (Courtesy photo)