A Philadelphia doctor is finding a way to get people in her city vaccinated against coronavirus at a higher rate than the city government itself and she’s doing it in the same manner that she brought testing to Black and Brown communities.
In April 2020, Dr. Ala Stanford, frustrated with the slow pace of testing for coronavirus, suspended her private practice, gathered a few friends in the medical field and took a van she rented into the neighborhoods to get people tested.
But now that two high efficacy vaccines are available and another is on the way, Stanford and her team are focusing on getting people inoculated and are administering hundreds of shots daily in areas where there is a high need, ABC News reports.
Philadelphia is 42 percent Black, U.S. Census data shows, but only 21.5 percent of vaccine shots have gone to Black people. For Stanford’s team, people of color constitute 79 percent of those getting the vaccine.
“Everyone was talking about this phenomenon of sort of just, frankly, rich folks coming to poor neighborhoods to take the vaccine. But no one was doing anything,” she told ABC News.
RELATED: Philadelphia Sees Disproportionate Number Of Coronavirus Postives Among Black Population
According to city data, there have been 118,000 COVID-19 diagnoses in Philadelphia and more than 3,100 deaths. Total doses of the coronavirus vaccine are 312,000. To help the community, the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium will be offering walk-up vaccinations for people who qualify for the shots, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Stanford has been offering her help on a volunteer basis, taking no pay for her efforts. She says she feels she needed to act because little has changed in the years she’s been in the medical field.
“I am striving towards equity, because 20 years ago when I was in medical school, these same inequities existed. ... And every day that we get out there, we are changing it. And that's a story I want to be a part of, regardless of if I'm getting paid or not,” Stanford said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says there have been some complications on getting the vaccine to people in his city, but he is trying to move things in the right direction.
“We have the need to bring this forward with racial equity because as we know, people of color have suffered the most from this and have had the most worst cases and the worst outcomes," he told ABC News. "We're moving forward in a better way."
The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium recently set up a 24-hour clinic at Temple University and managed to vaccinate 4,000 people. Stanford, through her efforts attained access to more vaccine doses than she would have been able to by waiting.
“It's that the lives of the people in this community really matter to us. It's because we know what it feels like to have a field that's not level to be treated unfairly for something you have no control over, oftentimes your socioeconomic status in the color of your skin,” said Stanford.