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In Knox County, only a third of Black people are vaccinated. That's not slowing down community-led efforts.

Cynthia J. Finch and her team regularly host vaccine clinics at churches and community events. Their goal is to educate and vaccinate as many people as they can.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Every Monday, Cynthia J. Finch and her team stand outside the Magnolia Avenue United Methodist Church ready to engage with the community.

They offer COVID-19 vaccinations, food, clothing and other resources to anyone who stops by.

"We're out here on the lawn, saving lives," Finch told 10News. "We call ourselves the community vaccinators. We go to those areas where the traditional public health might not necessarily go."

She's been to churches, senior centers, parks and community events. She said it's her doing her part in getting everyone vaccinated.

"The vaccines are safe. They're free," she said. "We're here to make sure that they're available and accessible to our community."

According to the Knox County Health Department, only a third of Black people in the community have received the vaccine. 

That's compared to nearly 60 percent of everyone who lives in the county.

Credit: WBIR Data Team

Finch hopes to change that by using trusted vaccine messengers.

"People tend to cooperate with people that look like them," Finch said. "So, we take our nurse practitioners of color, our physicians of color and we actually go in to the neighborhood. That's why we're here today."

Brittonya Sparks is a nurse practitioner. She volunteered with New Directions Health Care Solutions on Monday to give out COVID shots.

"We come on site to make accessibility great for the community," she said. "It's important because of disparities in the community."

Together, Finch and her team hope they can make a difference in protecting the community against COVID-19.

"Our commitment is to provide services and provide vaccines to those that might not have access," Finch said. "It's going to take relationships with communities to move people from no to yes."

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