McLennan County Health District partners with churches to raise vaccination rate in black community


WACO, Texas (KWTX) -The McLennan County Health District is partnering up with local African American churches, Waco NAACP, and VOICE Waco to get vaccines in arms by hosting a vaccine clinic on Sunday called “Shots for Souls”.

“The partnership is crucial because whereas the church deals with the spirit of the man, the health department is dealing with the health of the person,” Dr. Jimmy Hunter, the pastor at Toliver Baptist Church, said.

Health is top of mind after seeing record numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths just last month. Health leaders say vaccine rates need to rise to protect our community, especially our African American community.

“Only about 10 percent of the black community in the McLennan County area has been vaccinated and it’s really risky just because traditionally black people are more likely to be impacted with chronic diseases like hypertension, high blood pressure, heart disease and these diseases make the impact of COVID-19 that much worse,” LaShonda Malrey-Horne, Director of the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, said.

She says “Shots for Souls” brings the vaccine to the community, fights misinformation, and helps people understand vaccine benefits ahead of the busy time of the holidays.

“Last thanksgiving looked very different for almost everyone and for black families it was really hard to make that decision not to come together because that’s so much of the root of who we are. So in order to make sure we have a Thanksgiving this year where we can gather and eat and watch football and laugh and enjoy each other, it was really important for me that we gave people an opportunity to get fully vaccinated before then.”

First and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine and single doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available.

By offering the clinic, they are hoping to raise vaccine rates and holiday cheer where families can once again come together safely.

The clinic is on Sunday, Oct 17 at the Health District building (225 W. Waco Dr.) from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The first 200 people will receive a free lunch from Papa Jacks BBQ.

Registration can be done online at or at 254-750-5460.

Copyright 2021 KWTX. All rights reserved.

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