At Americans Helping Americans®, we encourage all Americans to get vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus, as do our grassroots partners in Georgia, Tennessee, and West Virginia, as a way to protect ourselves and others from the deadly coronavirus on the way to a return to normalcy in the communities we serve and our country as a whole.
While millions of Americans are fully vaccinated today, there are millions more who are not – and not because they do not want and/or trust the vaccine – but because they simply are unable to get to their nearest vaccination site.
That’s why we are working with our partners, LAMP Ministries in Gainesville, Georgia, Caring Hands Ministries in Cleveland, Georgia, Appalachian Outreach in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and Big Creek People in Action in McDowell County, West Virginia to supply hundreds of gas cards to their clients.
While the governor of West Virginia recently announced that the state will give any person aged 16 to 35 who get vaccinated a $100 savings bond, and some businesses have offered incentives such as a free donut at Krispy Kreme with proof of vaccination, for many in rural Appalachia that is not the issue.
What we are hearing from our partners is that their clients WANT the shot, it’s just that they don’t have the means to get to a vaccination site.
And that’s why we are supporting their efforts by providing hundreds of $5 gas cards to enable them to drive 20 or more miles to get to the nearest location where they can get the shot, and for those without vehicles, the bus tickets they need to travel back and forth.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported earlier this month: “The vaccination hurdles are the same ones that drag Georgia down in other areas of health and quality of life. Georgia ranks among the 11 worst states for the number of people in rural counties who don’t have access to a car. It ranks among the worst states for people forgoing medical care because they can’t afford it. Several Georgia counties have no doctor at all.”
“Americans Helping Americans® is working with our partners to help people leap over financial barriers that might prevent someone from getting the COVID-19 vaccination,” says Americans Helping Americans® Executive Director Cameron Krizek. “We’re distributing gas cards for people who can’t afford the extra fuel needed to make it to a clinic and bus fare tickets for people who do not have a personal vehicle.
“We’re helping hundreds of people this way in these Appalachian communities. More barriers need to fall so that these states and this country have a better chance of reaching herd immunity.”