Story by Vanessa Wasta | Photography by Keith Weller
Follow along as Baltimore City community members receive their COVID-19 vaccinations from the Johns Hopkins Mobile/Community Vaccination Clinics team.
1 (Location): Welcome to the clinic
From left, community health worker José Jimenez, operations lead Benjamin Bigelow, and community health workers Karen Washington-Malone and Willetta Gombeh navigate clinic participants to each station and answer questions. The clinics are set up in community rooms at residential facilities or in large tents next to the facility, and staff members ensure that the space meets physical distancing guidelines.
2 (Milestone): Let’s sign you in
Baltimore resident Danny Lawrence, right, completes one of his first steps in getting a COVID-19 vaccine by signing in at a Johns Hopkins vaccination clinic with community health worker Willetta Gombeh.
3 (Document): Complete the registration
Administrator Saira Huggins, M.S., right, registers Charlie Billinger for a COVID-19 vaccine. Registration staff members collect demographic information from each participant to ensure that, overall, the clinics are serving populations that are hard hit by COVID and that have fewer opportunities to get vaccines. The participants receive an index card showing when they received the vaccine. Health care staff also talk with participants about informed consent and provide written materials about the vaccine.
4 (Milestone): Learn more about vaccination
School of nursing professor Nancy Glass, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.S., right, answers questions from clinic participant Hercules Williams. Clinic staff members answer questions about a wide range of subjects, including side effects, when immunity will start and when to get a second dose. The conversation topics often turn to life experiences. Senior residents often talk about their former jobs — some have been health care professionals, chefs and military personnel. Another popular topic among seniors is their grandkids, of course.
5 (Milestone): Vaccine is ready
Pharmacist Elizabeth Rodman, Pharm.D., M.H.A., draws a dose of COVID-19 vaccine from a vial. Ensuring that each clinic has the right number of vaccine doses is a complex process. There are 10 doses in each vial of this vaccine, and staff members need time to thaw the vaccines from subzero storage temperatures.
6 (Location): We’ll show you where to go
School of nursing professor Nancy Perrin, Ph.D., M.A., right, accompanies clinic participant Ellen Brown to her first station. Often, people are pre-scheduled for appointments at the vaccine clinics, but Johns Hopkins staff can vaccinate eligible walk-ins.
7 (Milestone): And answer your questions
Jenny Zhang, M.D., right, answers questions about the vaccine. When residents leave the clinic, primary care physicians and the Baltimore City Health Department can answer follow-up questions. Johns Hopkins Medicine will soon have a hotline for Baltimore City residents to call with vaccine questions.
8 (Milestone): Small sting!
Jenny Zhang, M.D., right, gives Ellen Brown a COVID-19 vaccine. Johns Hopkins Medicine plans to hold as many as three clinics per week at housing facilities for seniors and people with disabilities, and staff members are working with community organizations and associations to identify and vaccinate other community members who are eligible. Katie O’Conor says Johns Hopkins hopes to expand the clinics to faith-based organizations, schools, community organizations, homeless shelters and other locations to reach more people so that no one is left out. Each clinic can serve 100 to 150 people.
9 (Document): Making sure you feel well
Volunteer Anthony Evans, right, explains the vaccine index card to Vera Lee McKoy. After getting the vaccine, residents wait in an area near the clinic for 15 to 30 minutes to make sure they feel well and that their questions are answered before leaving the clinic.
10 (Location): Can’t come to the clinic?
Hooman Tadbiri, left, talks with Christine Freeland about her vaccine. For people with major mobility problems who can’t leave their apartment in the facility, a small team of Johns Hopkins health care staff members administers the vaccine at their apartment and monitors them for the 15 to 30 minute waiting period.
11 (Document): We bring vaccines to you!
Katie O’Conor says community residents are overwhelmingly eager to finally have the opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccine at their doorstep, and those who are initially hesitant often opt to receive the vaccine after seeing their friends and neighbors safely vaccinated.
12 (Milestone): First dose complete
Christine Freeland’s first vaccine dose is complete, and she has one more to go. Clinic organizers do all they can to ensure that all of their vaccine doses are used, including knocking on residents’ doors to make sure that everyone who is eligible and wants a vaccine can get it. As residents sign in for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, they receive a reminder card for the date and time that the Johns Hopkins team will come back to their building to give the second dose (if they are receiving the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine). Johns Hopkins Medicine health care teams and community partners follow up with every vaccine recipient to remind them of the date and time for their second dose. On the day of the second dose, team members go to each apartment in the building to remind anyone who may have forgotten their appointment. “It takes an exceptional number of volunteers to keep these clinics running, and we’re making a big impact in the lives of people receiving these vaccines,” says O’Conor.
Read more about COVID care and vaccine efforts in the community.