OCCHD Working To Make COVID Vaccine More Accessible To LGBTQ Community


Thursday, June 3rd 2021, 9:40 pm
By: Feliz Romero


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Availability does not mean inclusiveness, that is something metro health officials said they are finding out as they try to get more people vaccinated for COVID-19.

They are now working with the Diversity Center of Oklahoma to reach the LGBTQ community.

Oklahoma City-County Health Department told News 9 this is all part of a greater effort to go into marginalized communities and increase their vaccination numbers.

They said after several large-scale pods they have hit a wall when it comes to vaccine outreach.

“It is important to send out strike teams for vulnerable populations, those who have access issues because not everyone is comfortable coming into a large-scale pod, there are barriers,” said Dominique Baradaran, the OCCHD Unit Coordinator.

She said one of those barriers is the LGBTQ community getting judged at pods, so they decided to reach out to the Diversity Center.

“One thing that we find is that they misgendered people, they use the wrong pronouns. Doctors’ offices can update their documentation so people can put their pronouns on there and can use their preferred name,” said Kelley Blair, the CEO and Founder of the Diversity Center of Oklahoma.

The first vaccine clinic at the Diversity Center had all three shots and vaccinated over 60 Oklahomans.

“We were able to provide services that made our community members feel safe and affirmed and welcomed. It was really nice that folks felt like they had that opportunity especially during Pride month,” said Blair.

They said they look forward to the next clinic at the Center on June 18.

“We want to get as many people vaccinated as possible and that can be smaller numbers as well,” said Baradaran.

In an effort to be more inclusive OCCHD has updated their consent forms to ask people their "sex at birth" and "gender identity."

The health department works with several vulnerable communities. People can reach out to them to coordinate a mobile clinic.