Whether they provide direct services, education, information, advocacy or all of the above, Lincoln’s nonprofits work tirelessly to help people. Throughout the pandemic, they have stepped up and found innovative ways to serve the community, including reaching out to people in their own neighborhoods.
The pandemic has been stressful, life altering for so many, and tragic for others. Lincoln’s ICU beds are full, housing both Lincoln and outstate patients – largely unvaccinated. Recently, a Nemaha doctor had to call 23 hospitals to find a bed for his patient. Hospitals are admitting younger and younger COVID-19 patients, and some of them are dying. Doctors and nurses caring for COVID patients are drained and exhausted from long hours and the death toll.
And now another flu season is upon us. We were lucky, relatively speaking, during the 2020 flu season. Because large numbers of Lincolnites got flu shots and masked up against COVID, we escaped the worst of what the flu usually does to us. Getting your flu shot and masking up will help ensure that the 2021 flu season is just as mild as last season. More importantly, masking and getting vaccinated against COVID will help you stay out of the hospital and help stop the spread of COVID. Both vaccines are free. COVID vaccines have been safely administered to hundreds of millions in the U.S. They do not affect your DNA or cause infertility.
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) and many local nonprofits have been working hard to make sure that everyone in the community has access to both flu and COVID vaccines. The LLCHD and local nonprofits have partnered with churches, schools, cultural centers, and community groups and organizations, bringing vaccination clinics to neighborhoods all over the city, especially in medically underserved areas.
Here are just a few examples. This summer, LLCHD partnered with Black clergy to offer vaccine clinics at Mt. Zion Baptist Church and City Impact, with Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach for onsite COVID vaccine clinics, with El Centro de las Americas which co-hosted COVID vaccine clinics at Cristo Rey Church and the Center for People in Need, and with the Asian Community and Cultural Center for onsite flu and COVID vaccine clinics.
More recently, the Malone Center coordinated with St. Paul United Methodist Church in August to send Malone’s Back to School Jam attendees to a clinic at the church, and both El Centro and the Asian Center offered vaccine clinics at their September cultural events – El Centro’s Latino Festival and the Asian Center’s Harvest Moon Festival, both at Antelope Park.
And Lincoln’s nonprofits continue to reach out. Upcoming neighborhood clinics hosted by some of the city’s nonprofits with LLCHD and others include:
• The YWCA and LLCHD will co-host free COVID and flu vaccine clinics at Dawes Middle School during the YWCA’s Health Fair Oct. 7-8 from 6-8 p.m. The fair will also feature guest speakers on Oct. 7 to discuss health-related topics, followed by a Q&A session open to the public.
• Southeast Community College offers free COVID vaccines to students and staff members at all its locations. For more details, visit southeast.edu/covid-19.
• The YMCA will partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield Nebraska to offer free flu shots at the Copple and Fallbrook locations in Lincoln and at other Nebraska communities. Find the schedule at nebraskablue.com/en/FluShot.
• LLCHD - Every week, you can find the nearest COVID vaccination sites posted at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov. The locations rotate weekly. For flu vaccination clinics, go to Lincoln.ne.gov and search “flu vaccine.”
Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln (HealthyLincoln.org) and LNKTV Health (LNKTVHealth.lincoln.ne.gov) bring you Health and the City, a monthly column that examines relevant community health issues and spotlights the local organizations that impact the wellness of our community. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.