Philadelphia Alumnae COVID Response Team Is Making A Difference


Submitted by Co-Chairs:  Dr. Cheryl Oakman and Leslie Marant

Beginning in February 2021, in response to the CDC Foundation and the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s request to receive help in providing more equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine in underserved Black and Brown communities, the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated established a COVID Response Team as part of its ongoing Physical and Mental Health Program Committee work. Since that time, the COVID Response Team has served as a repository of information about vaccine opportunities throughout the region by distributing information on a regular basis to chapter members and their family and friends, and to other members of the community throughout the Philadelphia region.

The COVID Response Team provided direct access to the vaccine by securing appointments for close to 400 residents throughout the Philadelphia area. This was possible through partnerships with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health at the FEMA Convention Center vaccine clinic; the Black Doctor’s COVID-19 Consortium who provided in-home vaccine services to homebound individuals that were identified by the chapter; Gaudenzia, Inc. who provided vaccines to staff at their various sites, and offered extra doses to individuals identified through the chapter; and the Black Clergy of Philadelphia & Vicinity, for whom the COVID Response Team continues to provide service by calling individuals to schedule appointments at 15 churches hosting vaccine clinics in different communities throughout the region. Health partners involved in the efforts include Gateway Health, Rite Aid, and MedCare.

Currently, the COVID Response Team is embarking upon efforts to develop and implement strategies to address the remaining community hesitancy about the vaccine, which based on local data appears to be largely amongst teens ages 12-17, their parents/guardians, and among young adults ages 18-40. It only makes sense as a first step, to involve individuals representing the different categories of people that the chapter would like to target. The City of Philadelphia has introduced the team to the leaders of the Philly Teen Vaxx Initiative, a student-led group, who will initially assist the team in helping to identify why their peers are hesitant to get the vaccine, and will then assist the team in creating teen-friendly approaches to help address the hesitancies. The ultimate goal is getting more vaccines into the arms of these individuals. The COVID Response Team is also discussing strategies for engaging parents/guardians of the teens and young adults.

The proud President of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter, Dr. Penny Sparks Nixon, applauds the committed members of the COVID Response Team, including: Dr. Cheryl Oakman & Leslie Marant (Co-Chairs), Lynne Battle-Millard, Denise Byrd, Regina Canty, Leslie Coker, Marvetta Coleman, G. Ann Curtiss King, Blinda Fleming-Stephens, Parri Frazier, Jackie Greene, Maxine C. Harvey, Violet Heninghan, Evelyn Johns, Terri Miles, Kameela Miller, Linda Miller, Nadene Moore, Joyce Oliver, Nikita Peden, Marcia Penn, Tracey Petty, Stacie Pinto, Tara Smith, Yvette Styer, Angela Thompson-Taylor, Robin Wheeler, and Marie Young.

The team was recently featured in the Philadelphia Sunday Sun on May 14, 2021, about the BCPV Vaccine Clinics, including the chapter’s volunteer services. https://www.philasun.com/oasis/area-churches-set-to-offer-covid-19-vaccinations/


Submitted by Co-Chairs:  Dr. Cheryl Oakman and Leslie Marant Beginning in February 2021, in response to the CDC Foundation and the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s request to receive help in providing more equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine in underserved Black and Brown communities, the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta …

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