MeridianHealth of Illinois and Howard Brown Health to Offer 1,000 Vaccines and Distribute PPE During Event to Protect Englewood Residents Against COVID-19

Walk-up event to focus on vaccinating underserved population on the South Side of Chicago.

CHICAGO (May 13, 2021) – On Saturday, May 15, MeridianHealth of Illinois and Howard Brown Health will host a free vaccination event with the goal of administering 1,000 first doses of the Moderna mRNA vaccine to protect the community of Englewood against COVID-19. Meridian and its partners are working to bring access to the vaccine, provide personal protective equipment, and resources to help prevent the spread of the virus within the underserved South Side communities of Chicago.

Howard Brown Health staff will run the COVID-19 vaccination clinic during the “Count on Me” event to take place at The Salvation Army Red Shield Center. The vaccine will be offered at no cost, and insurance will not be required, nor documentation regarding immigration status. Specifically for this event, adult residents, ages 18 years and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine, by pre-registering for an appointment or by walk-in.

Additional support for the COVID-19 vaccination clinic is also provided by State Senators Mattie Hunter and Jacqueline Collins, and State Representatives Andre Thapedi, Sonya Harper, and Lemont Robinson.

While studies have proven that the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best chance of protecting people from getting the virus, more education to promote the safety of the vaccine may help reduce skepticism, alongside efforts such as community events to make the vaccine more accessible, and local incentives to drive vaccine uptake.

The “Count on Me” event will allow local residents the opportunity to get a shot in their own community, as many South Side and West Side neighborhoods of Chicago often face barriers to resources and healthcare. Currently, Englewood (60621), stands as one of the zip codes with the lowest first-shot vaccination rates in the city, at only 26.2% and a complete dose rate at a staggering 18.9%, according to Chicago’s vaccination data.

“We are pleased to partner with Howard Brown Health, one of our in-network providers, to ensure that South Side residents have easy access to the COVID-19 vaccine by bringing this event to them,” said James Kiamos, Meridian Plan President and CEO for Illinois. “We are looking forward to working with The Salvation Army Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center, which is a prime location due to its accessibility through public transportation, and that it is within walking distance for residents of Englewood and surrounding neighborhoods.”

“All of our partners care about the community immensely,” added Kiamos. “We are aligned with the same purpose in mind—that this event will allow people to get the necessary care and vital resources they need.”

Moderna vaccines (first dose) will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis on Saturday, May 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST at the following location:

The Salvation Army Red Shield Center (Englewood)
945 W. 69th St.
Chicago, IL 60621

Appointments are preferred, and can be scheduled online by visiting https://hbh-covid- vaccine.as.me/MeridianHealth or by scanning the QR code on the event flyer. On the day of the event, walk-ins are welcome, any time before 3 p.m., as supplies last.

Below are some of the insights and information to educate communities and address any uncertainty about the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine provides the best chance for individuals to protect themselves and their families from getting COVID-19 in the future. They are highly effective, especially at preventing severe illness and hospitalization related to COVID-19.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorizes emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh the potential risks.
  • Some individuals may run a fever after getting the vaccine. This is normal, as their body builds immunity and fights off future COVID-19 exposures.

“Vaccine access equity is a high priority for Howard Brown Health, and we’re thrilled to partner with Meridian and The Salvation Army to further reach underserved communities in the fight against COVID- 19,” said Ken J.A. Griffin, Chief Operating Officer for Howard Brown Health. “As a leader in the pandemic response in Chicago, we rely on community partnerships to reach communities where they’re at and make vaccine access as easy and convenient as possible.”

Additional Essential Resources for Community Members

The Salvation Army is proud to partner with Howard Brown Health and MeridianHealth to provide access to the vaccine at a convenient and familiar location. “For those who get vaccinated, we’ll have information about other Salvation Army programs and resources,” said Capt. Corey Hughes, Corps

Officer at The Salvation Army Red Shield Center. “So not only will they get the vaccine, we can connect them to resources that could help them in other areas, such as food, emergency assistance, and COVID-19 relief in the form of monetary grants that we have been allotted, if they qualify.”

Those vaccinated at the event will also receive a PPE package with hand sanitizer and several face masks, provided by MeridianHealth of Illinois. Participants will be offered the second dose of the vaccine at the same location in four weeks, on Saturday, June 16, 2021.

For more information about MeridianHealth and its healthcare support services, visit ilmeridian.com.

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About Meridian of Illinois

Meridian of Illinois provides government-sponsored, managed care services to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs primarily through Medicaid (MeridianHealth), Medicare Advantage (WellCare), Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MeridianComplete), Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (WellCare), and the Health Insurance Marketplace (Ambetter of Illinois). Meridian is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise committed to helping people live healthier lives. For more information about Meridian, please visit ilmeridian.com.

About Howard Brown Health

Howard Brown Health envisions a future where the health and wellness of LGBTQ people is affirmed with healthcare as a human right; where progressive social policy and enlightened societal norms uplift the lives of LGBTQ people and their families; and where affordable, accessible, and culturally competent care from non-judgmental healthcare professionals is available and provided to all who seek it. Howard Brown is the largest LGBTQ organization in the Midwest, providing primary and specialty healthcare, social services, and infectious disease screenings to more than 35,000 people each year and over 5,665 TGNC-identified patients annually. For more information about Howard Brown Health, please visit https://howardbrown.org/.

About The Salvation Army Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center (Englewood)

At The Salvation Army, we are dedicated to Doing the Most Good. We are made up of thousands of officers, soldiers, staff, volunteers, donors, and partners working together to holistically meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. We do this through programs designed to combat homelessness and hunger, provide safe spaces for kids after school and on the weekends, achieve and maintain sobriety, and give hope to the hopeless. The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division provides these services to people in need throughout greater Chicagoland, Northern Illinois, and Northwest Indiana. The Salvation Army Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center in Englewood is a part of the Metropolitan Division, and provides a variety of services to people in need in our community. The Salvation Army is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by U.S. law. For more information about the Salvation Army Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center (Englewood) please visit https://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/redshield/.


Contacts: Myriea Amaya, Mediainquiries.il@centene.com

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