HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The vaccine is one way of prevention, but we can't forget another which is COVID-19 testing. As restrictions ease up, several Huntsville groups have teamed up to provide access to free COVID-19 testing in underserved communities.
"Just because you receive the vaccine, doesn't mean you cannot be diagnosed with COVID-19. So we do need to continue to test. There are new variants out there," says Acclinate Co-Founder & Chief Development Officer, Tiffany Whitlow.
Leaders from The Legacy Center and genetic research companies, and North Alabama AHEC Program want to slow the spread of the virus due to spring break and gatherings over Easter Sunday.
"We're just trying to do as much education that we can with the support of organizations like 'Now Included' powered by Acclinate, to get the message out there that protect yourselves, protect the people that you love," says Legacy Center Chief Visionary Officer, Chanda Crutcher.
"[We] set up in like a general area so people can come and get tested and get what they need," added Isaiah Robinson, Now Included Volunteer.
However, there's still hesitation to get vaccinations as we reach two million doses administered in Alabama. "I'm surprised that we're still seeing so much trepidation with people not wanting to take the vaccine," says Crutcher.
Leaders say they are working with more groups and agencies to educate people. "We're doing a lot of webinars. We're working through the Association of Black Mayors here in the state, We're working with the Alabama Department of Public Health. We're working through UAB. So we have many campaigns going to make people understand that they are included in the narrative," added Whitlow.
"You are included. Not just to take up space at the table, but so that we can truly make sure that everyone can eat, and eating right now is both literal, and figurative," says Crutcher.
As far as how long they will continue to conduct these COVID-19 testing drive thru events depends on the community. They say they hope to run one at least every two weeks.