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Making hope possible in Baltimore, Maryland

June 16, 2021 | Healthy Communities News

Community partnerships are essential. “What we heard was that the voices of individuals who are on the ground in communities are the ones that matter the most,” David Casey (SVP, Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health®). The site at Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) opened in March, when demand for vaccines was still outpacing supply.

“There would be lines out the door of people waiting, especially when it first started, and we had those first few days of it happening. Everyone was so excited that it was finally [here] in their town,” Sarah Maksimovic, PharmD.

To date, CVS Health® has administered 23 million COVID-19 tests and 17 million vaccine doses.

David reminds us, “Data is one thing, but it's something different when you get on the ground and you start having real dialogue with individuals about what their concerns are, what their fears are, what their hopes are. The one thing that you can never rush is trust.”

In the latest Healthy Communities News podcast episode, we speak with Stephen Fontz, CVS District Leader, as well as Bishop Donte Hickman from the South Baptist Church, which has stood firm against what he calls, “the suburban flight and the urban blight.” He’s been dealing with vaccination hesitancy in his own special way, “And we continue to engage the people and we continue to provide the service and we continue to listen. And I've discovered that people just want you to listen and prove that you're gonna be there. And I think after 19 years, I have more credibility than I had in 19 months.”

By way of example, we also hear from one of Pastor Hickman’s congregants, Sonia Sobel, who did change her mind about being vaccinated.