Roanoke church gives out free hot dogs with COVID-19 vaccinations

One church leader took creative vaccine incentives into her own hands

ROANOKE, Va. – To reach those left in Southwest Virginia who are not vaccinated but perhaps on the fence about it, health and community leaders are getting creative and taking their efforts straight to this group.

Carilion Clinic and the VDH have been focusing on community vaccination events, like the one at Mount Zion AME Church Friday.

“It was important to step back from the large community vaccination sites and have them more widely available closer to where people are,” stated Carilion Clinic Senior Director for Pharmacy Dr. Chad Alvarez.

You can your COVID-19 shot retails pharmacies, your primary care physician, local health department and now at these small events, says Alvarez.

“We are working with Carilion Clinic and some other folks who are giving us community health workers; we are working with a contractor with the Virginia Emergency Management that is helping us; we are going door-to-door; we’re going to big events; we’re going out to places where the people are with vaccine,” explained Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts Communications Officer Christie Wills.

The CDC maps vaccine hesitancy across the country.

According to CDC analysis, most Virginia communities fall into the 7%-10% hesitant category, which ranks second best. However, health leaders still want to reach that hesitant population.

“We heard President Biden talk about incentives. So, I felt so led by Biden and the spirit of God,” said Mount Zion AME Church Reverend Dr. Amy Hodge.

How did she get creative? By providing free hot dogs to everyone who got their shot.

“People will get these shots when they say so when it’s convenient, when it’s credible and when it’s comfortable,” said Hodge.

Dr. Eyvonnie Ingram was one of three dozen who got their shot at Mount Zion AME Friday.

“It is very convenient,” admitted Ingram. “I was riding down the street and I happen to see the sign. I turned around and went back. I came and the nurses and things were just wonderful!”

Friday’s event was organized by the Northwest Faith Partnership, which includes Pastor Kathy O’Keefe with Kingdom Life Ministries, Pastor Dava Hensley with Church of Brethren, Pastor David Jones with Williams Memorial Baptist Church, and Dr. Amy Hodge with Mount Zion AME Church.

Two more clinics will be held July 16th and August 6th at Mount Zion AME (2128 Melrose Ave NW in Roanoke) from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome or you can reserve your dose by calling (540) 613-6597 or click here. The Pfizer vaccine will be administered.

Carilion Clinic will give out vaccine shots at the June 10th and 24th Salem Red Sox games.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.