HOUSTON - As more residents continue rolling up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a drive was held Saturday in south Houston.
About 100 Houstonians came to the Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church on Kingspoint around 9 a.m.
The event was hosted by the Vietnamese Culture and Science Association (VCSA) which Teresa Trinh, president of the organization, says was to help make the vaccine more accessible for other members of Houston's Asian community.
"At the beginning of the release of the vaccines, we realized people were all trying to find vaccines around the city of Houston," Trinh said. Our members and I were thinking that members of the community may have a language barrier, technology barrier, a logistics barrier in order to get these vaccines."
VCSA President Teresa Trinh (Photo courtesy of OnScene)
Trinh also said this is not the only vaccine site they've held but in fact, have done several others and even worked tirelessly to help residents book appointments and organize transportation.
"We do all this as volunteers through the organization, none of us are paid," she continued. "We do this through the kindness of our hearts. We stay up through the night to get vaccination appointments for people. This has resulted in us doing local vaccination events throughout the city. We had one on the southwest side of town, where a majority of the Vietnamese population resides. One on the southeast side for the community here in this area."
She added that other vaccine sites have been held previously in all parts of Houston, but especially in the southwest side, where there's a heavy Vietnamese American population.
"In order to get these vaccines, what we did was we formed a Vaccine Hunters group, and every night around midnight when Walmart released their appointments we hop on and get vaccine appointments for these people in the community. We did this by getting their personal information and did as much as we could to safely register them for these vaccines," Trinh explained. "And it was a very much a hard task because not only did you get the information and make the appointments, you’ve got to call them, follow up, give them directions, ask if they had transportation, coordinate all of that for them. From February to now we have over 1500 people for vaccines."
VCSA COVID-19 vaccine drive (Photo courtesy of OnScene)
Among the attendees was HPD officer and community relations officer to the Asian Community, Don Vo, who tells us these vaccine efforts are personal to him as he lost his own father to COVID-19 earlier in the year.
Officer Don Vo, HPD Asian Community Liasion (Photo courtesy of OnScene)
"I watched my father’s health deteriorate, and I was the one to take him into the hospital, where he just never left," he said. "We always hear things like COVID, COVID, COVID but when you see you it in a family member and they pass away from it, that’s just as my personal connection to it, so being here encouraging vaccines encouraging people to get back to me it’s very important."
Officer Vo also mirrored Trinh's statements on how vital it was to help bridge the gap and make the vaccines more accessible for other Asian Americans in Houston.
"Earlier this year, there was a lot of struggle with the language barrier, even when you go to the mega-sites, there was not a lot of people readily available for somebody who came up and spoke only Vietnamese, only Mandarin or Cantonese, and then you could not really explain to them the process of the registration online," Officer Vo explained. "And there's so many different barriers as of today; there’s not as many [like before] but that’s why VSCA has provided this COVID-19 site for people to walk in."
For additional information on VCSA, click HERE.