Local doctor continues push to get those in underserved communities vaccinated

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With Shelby County a long way from its goal of 700,000 fully vaccinated residents, there’s a continued push to get people to get the shot.

Dr. David D. Clemons is working, person by person, to convince people the vaccine is needed to protect themselves and others.

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The mission is personal after watching his mother become very sick from COVID-19 last June.

Dr. Clemons told us, “My mother suffered from COVID-19 and I have friends whose parents have died. So, I’ve seen it on the front line. That persuaded me to get the vaccination.”

Dr. Clemons, and his mother, Gwendolyn, run a non-profit and are using a grant to share their stories.

Gwendolyn told us “I’m what you consider a long hauler. I have ongoing breathing issues, migraines, chronic fatigue.”

Their organization, “Relationship Unleashed’ received a grant to use billboards. They’re also holding in-person listening sessions, which have been both informative and eye-opening regarding misinformation.

“Individuals to come in and listen to trusted health professionals to get the information, instead of talking to your friends, your cousins,” Gwendolyn told FOX13.

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Eight zip codes have been targeted for the campaign; they go from the river to Germantown.

Those zip codes are: 38126, 38125,38127,38118,38109,38116,38107,38106

Dr. Clemons is targeting every age and ethnic group but realizes some may never be convinced.

He told us, “You can’t devote all your time talking to a brick wall. It’s not going to move. so, you find individuals who are soaking in the education who are eager and want to learn more about it.”

He went on to say, while he’ll talk to anyone who wants, or even doesn’t want, to talk about the vaccine, there’s one group he’s really targeting.

“People who look like me, who are my color, black people, ‘please go get the shot.’ We are at the top of the list of people being hospitalized and dying.”

Another listening session is going to be held on July 31.

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