Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Supporting Communication Vaccination Efforts

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Supporting Communication Vaccination Efforts

Laurance Oliver, a mathematics teacher with Shelby County Schools, is ready to get back to working in person with his students.

“There’s nothing like being with your students,” he said. “The interaction – it’s a family.”

Kalena Bovell, assistant conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, agrees, adding, “I have been waiting for this for such a long time.”

Oliver and Bovell were among hundreds to receive the COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination event hosted by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) in partnership with Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.

In February, MLH’s Congregational Health Network began partnering with Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church to host a vaccination event in Midtown Memphis. At the time, vaccination eligibility was limited to people age 70 years and older, as well as those in the 1a1, 1a2 and 1b categories, so a team got to work reaching out to eligible individuals to offer opportunities for vaccination on designated days.

MLH was soon able to invite all Shelby County School teachers to receive their vaccine, which brought renewed optimism about safely returning children to on-site learning. Several teachers shared their thoughts on why it was important to them to get vaccinated at their earliest opportunity.

Methodist Le Bonheur leaders are working to further increase vaccine participation and address vaccine myths through its community-wide vaccination awareness campaign. Launched in April, the campaign aims to educate community members about vaccine safety and efficacy.

“We are so fortunate in Shelby County that anyone over the age of 16 is now eligible to get their vaccine,” said Dr. Shirin Mazumder, MLH infectious disease expert. “Getting vaccinated is the most important thing that someone can do to protect themselves and the people around them.”

To reach the broad and diverse audience in and around Shelby County, MLH is partnering with WMC Action News 5 to host a series of on-air special segments featuring infectious disease experts and hospital leaders who will discuss important COVID-19 topics including current vaccine options. The first special aired on April 7, 2021 and featured Mazumder along with Dr. Robin Womeodu, chief medical officer for Methodist University Hospital.

In addition, MLH’s awareness campaign will include collaboration with well-known social media influencers, plus billboards, bus shelter placements and radio PSAs. A key component of the campaign will be continuing partnerships with local faith-based organizations to reach people where they are in an environment in which they are most comfortable where they can hear from leaders they trust.

“It is a community effort so we all need to do our part,” says Mazumder. “We all need to get vaccinated to protect ourselves, the people around us and our community. That’s how we bring this pandemic to an end.”

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