PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Dignity Health expanded access to the COVID-19 vaccine this week by partnering with a downtown Phoenix church.

"We were actually praying once we heard many persons in my community had been underserved when it comes to the administration of the vaccine," said Terry E. Mackey, Senior Pastor at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church. "We were praying as to how we could be of service to our community, and low and behold, the opportunity presented itself with Dignity Health to unite with Pilgrim Rest in making sure the people in this community were served with the vaccine."

Vaccinations at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church

Vaccinations at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in downtown Phoenix.

Vaccinations at the church started Thursday. By Friday afternoon, more than 1,500 people had gotten the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. No appointments are required. Larry Ross went to the church Friday for his shot.

"The requirements for it were very minimum, so we just kind of went up here," said Ross. He said the whole process only took minutes.

"Those of color have not received at the same rate that other communities have had with respect to the vaccine," said Mackey. "So for us, it's very important to us that our people, those who are part of our congregation, as well, receive opportunities to be vaccinated."

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said the state is working with trusted community leaders to spread awareness about the vaccine and get it to underserved communities.

"We're gonna be working with our local county health departments to make sure we're offering popup vaccination events in those communities that they're put on by trusted community providers," said Christ.

"Just getting this COVID shot makes me feel safer being around elderly people, especially my grandma," said Ross.

You can still get vaccinated without an appointment at the church on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. All you need to do is show up at 1401 E Jefferson Street in Phoenix.


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