Woodlawn UMC vaccine

Zoe Shreve (left) receives her COVID vaccine at a July 9 clinic in the Derby Public Library, with Derby Drug intern Maria Paredes (right) administering the shot. Shreve was among a number of youth receiving vaccinations that day.

Initially, the Kansas Leadership Center launched its Kansas Beats the Virus campaign last fall to empower local entities to help find ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Now, with a vaccine readily available, the latest phase of the KLC campaign is intended to drive up vaccination numbers. In that vein, Derby’s Woodlawn United Methodist Church partnered with Derby Public Library and the Derby Recreation Commission recently to host an incentivized vaccination clinic at the library on July 9 intended to help improve those numbers locally.

According to Derby Drug (the administrators), 16 doses of Johnson & Johnson and 40 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered. That made it one of the largest vaccination clinics held over the past two months, reportedly, and a success in the eyes of Woodlawn UMC senior pastor Lance Carrithers.

“We were real pleased with that turnout,” Carrithers said. “I don’t know what the percentage is in Derby, but I know Kansas still is only at about 43 percent who have received at least one vaccination. So long as we still have a majority – over 50 percent – of our population that is unvaccinated, we’re still at risk. Our desire as a church is to be concerned about the health and well-being of our neighbors, as well as our congregation, and that means getting more and more people vaccinated in our community.”

Organizing the clinic, Woodlawn received a grant from the Kansas Leadership Center (as with the initial phase) to incentivize the participation of local residents. With that, 12 winners were selected at the July 9 vaccination clinic – with two receiving $500 cash prizes and 10 receiving $100 cash prizes.

Hearing that similar clinics were having low turnouts, Carrithers noted Woodlawn UMC was cautiously optimistic about participation. Earlier in the spring, the church had tried to host a clinic of its own and had no one show up for vaccinations. Having more than 50 participate in the clinic on July 9 was more than organizers had hoped for and Carrithers stated it was also good to see a number of children ages 12 to 17 brought in for vaccinations.

Follow-up vaccinations for those receiving the Pfizer vaccination will be administered at the Derby library from 2 to 6 p.m. July 30. No other such local clinics are set up through the Kansas Beats the Virus campaign at this point in time, but Carrithers expects efforts like that will continue in new phases, and Woodlawn will be ready to assist as needed.

“I don’t know what those other phases will be,” Carrithers said, “but as they roll those out through the rest of the summer and into the fall we’ll continue to see where we might be able to help with that.”