Memphis pastor wants vaccines to be available at churches in Black community

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis pastor wants the City of Memphis to open more satellite vaccination sites at churches in the Black community.

Pastor Ricky Floyd believes the communities of Raleigh Frayser need those resources to fend off vaccine hesitancy.

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Floyd invited FOX13 to speak to Dale McNair. 

McNair told us he waited to get the vaccine because critics had him doubting science and safety.  

“I was nervous about the side effects and if there was any,” said McNair. 

His wife got the vaccine but he didn’t.

McNair caught the virus and was admitted to the hospital. Now he walks around with portable oxygen to breathe.  

“That was tough for me in the bed for 72 days thinking about all the things I could do, wanted to do and couldn’t do,” said McNair.

Reginald Johnson was also there to speak to FOX13.  Johnson got vaccinated in April and told us his wife was reluctant to get hers.

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“I heard about this virus and I wanted to be safe,” said Johnson. 

In April, she got caught COVID and died five days later.  

A grieving Johnson told us “we were married for 35 years. That was my world.”

Floyd argued these two men could have avoided the pain of the pandemic. He said the city needs more places in Raleigh-Frasyer, such as his church, to be used as satellite vaccination sites to fight off vaccine hesitancy which is high in his community.  

“A location that they are familiar with, I think that will make it a little easier and increase our percentages of people showing up to get vaccinated,” said Floyd.

FOX13 viewed the Strickland Administrations COVID-19 website and found several locations for people to get the vaccine throughout the city.

The mayor’s office said it has outreach workers in many communities to get people to get the shot.  They said at past vaccine events in Frasier the turnout was low despite using phone banks to call people to encourage them.

Floyd told us they should try again.  

“I don’t want to sound like I am Frasyer only but 38127 has 50 thousand residents and about 90 percent of them are most at risk,” said Floyd.

Floyd said he will reach out to the mayor’s office to see if he can change some minds to hold another pop-up vaccination site at his church or another community location.

In the meantime, Mayor’s office said it will have a mobile vaccine unit in Frasyer soon.