North Minneapolis health center hopes to give COVID-19 vaccine to community in need

Northpoint Health and Wellness Center will be reaching out to communities that may have trepidation around getting the COVID-19 vaccine. (FOX 9)

As COVID-19 vaccinations begin to roll out across the state, a north Minneapolis clinic is working to ensure that some of the hardest hit communities are vaccinated against the virus.

The move comes just months before millions are expected to get the shot and as national health leaders address vaccine mistrust.

With COVID-19 vaccines on the ground and widespread distribution months away, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center is making moves.

Dr. Kevin Gilliam is a family physician at the north Minneapolis clinic and stands on the front line of a public health crisis that has hit Black, brown and American Indians hard.

"Unfortunately our community is greatly impacted by this pandemic at the moment, so with infection, the rates of hospitalizations are higher, the rates of death," Dr. Gilliam said.

And, as the nation rolls out an historic vaccination campaign, efforts are underway to ensure that people are informed.

"We’re doing a few things. One is educating ourselves about the vaccine so that we can speak from a place of knowledge," Dr. Gilliam said. "Although there are people that are ready and willing and able to get the vaccination, there will be some that will say they absolutely will not."

According to a recent study, Black Americans remain among the groups that have the least confidence in the vaccine.

"There’s an undergirding distrust in the system itself that has proven sometimes to not have the best interest of some communities at heart," Dr. Gilliam said.

NorthPoint is now working to bridge the gap.

"I think, sometimes, a better understanding of the science will kind of alleviate some of that fear…encouraging people to give it a good consideration and showing people that look similar to them, who are willing and have kind of made the decision to become vaccinated," Dr. Gilliam said.

NorthPoint is currently in discussions with state health officials on becoming a vaccination site.