KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hy-Vee and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum have begun clinics in the 18th and Vine neighborhood, holding them every Monday, with the next one in a few days.
41 Action News was at the first one held this week and saw the effect it’s having on those who live near the museum.
“It was critical for me, I’m immunosuppressed, transplant recipient, it was critical,” said Dylan Mortimer, one of many who got their first vaccine at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. “I signed up about 30 places I couldn't get an appointment and so it was great to come here to this historic area to get this historic vaccine."
The vaccine is available in the 18th and Vine District, a Kansas City neighborhood that’s part of Hy-Vee’s hyper-targeted strategy.
Christina Gayman, Hy-Vee’s director of public relations, said they’re focused on underserved populations.
“People who do not have transportation or Internet access, computer access even to make those appointments, and so we're trying to take the vaccine to them in as many cases as possible,” she said.
Bringing the clinic to a landmark location is also key.
“Having it in a cultural confines of Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, maybe it squelches some of the fears or trepidation that people had regarding even taking the vaccine. So we can kind of nullify some of that, increase the access to this, it’s all good,” said NLBM president Bob Kendrick.
“It was easy to get to, because I just live down the street," Jamie Marzett said.
Marzett lives in the neighborhood near the museum and walked to his appointment. His twin sister, Janine got her first dose on Monday, too.
“There’s an urgency for people of color, people in my neighborhood and people of my age group to get vaccinated and to build that trust between the community, people of color, and the medical community,” she said.
It's been a challenging year for the siblings.
“I lived in Chicago for 25 years, just like a lot of people, because (of) the pandemic, I got furloughed, and eventually lost my job, and unfortunately my mom passed away in 2020. So there was a lot of circumstances, and I was ready to come home,” Janine recalled.
The clinic personal for the Marzett’s, after losing the family matriarch.
“She had respiratory problems, but the way the symptoms went down, she went so quickly, I just feel like, for her name. I have to get it,” Jamie said about the vaccine. “It’s just sad seeing so many people, and especially family members, losing their life over something, to me personally, to be honest, if the information was out like it should have been. I think a lot of people would’ve still been alive.”
The next clinic is on Monday, March 22, at the museum, with Hy-Vee planning on weekly clinics.
Organizers told 41 Action News they plan to vaccinate 600-650 people, with that number potentially increasing based on interest.