As the fight to vaccinate communities of color continues, one historically Black university is teaming up with Hampton, Virginia, community leaders and physicians to bring doses to residents' backyards.
Hampton University is allocating $500,000 for a "vaccine-mobile" RV to serve the greater Hampton Roads community, which is 49.3% Black. The RV is slated to serve under-vaccinated groups, including low-income, African American, Hispanic and elderly communities.
After months of research and blueprints, the newly renovated RV carries a full-size pharmacy refrigerator with a minus 20-degree freezer, a minus 80-degree freezer and examination tables to administer COVID-19 vaccinations and tests.
Hampton University plans on tapping into other trusted, active and Black-led community groups such as Black Greek Lettered organizations and mentoring organizations like 100 Black Men to help publicize the mobile clinic.
"HBCUs are not just colleges, they're an integral part of the black community. HBCUs have to be ambassadors for the minority community," said Alonzo Bell Jr., president of the Virginia peninsula chapter of 100 Black Men. Bell, a Newport News, Virginia, native, said that HBCUs like Hampton must do the work to get local residents vaccinated.
Most HBCUs are located in or around Black neighborhoods. In addition to Hampton, HBCUs such as North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University recently transformed areas of their campuses into vaccination sites, further serving the members of their communities.