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Vaccine celebration breaking down barriers between vaccines and mentally ill patients

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 6:41 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Research shows that patients with mental disorders are more likely to have complications from COVID-19, along with a higher risk of death.

Physicians Alliance for Mental Health (PAMH) hosted what they called a vaccination celebration on Friday. PAMH is an alliance that treats people with severe and persistent mental health issues, like schizophrenia.

The organization knows how difficult it can be to get vaccines into the arms of these patients, making it a big concern. The vaccination celebration was to ensure that all patients were educated and comfortable as they made a life changing decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The fact that they can come to a place in which they’re already familiar, and see faces of folks that they know, go home with a boxed lunch, it’s just amazing. I couldn’t ask for anything better to vaccinate as many folks as we can because it is so important,” said organizer Michele Bennett.

Walmart partnered with PAMH to create this vaccination celebration opportunity.

“They are providing a crucial vaccine to improve the health of our clients, and in some cases b/c of their medical comorbidities, a potential lifesaving service... so. Really important (crying)”

One patient has been waiting to get his vaccine, and this event was the perfect opportunity for Rashad Fewell.

“I thought of deaths and sickness and everything like that, it’s important to feel safe walking the streets without my mask,” said Fewell.

He wanted to feel safe, and part of something bigger.

“I feel like a part of something that’s helping the nation, and I can feel safe walking the streets without my mask now,” said Fewell.

Not only did patients receive their free vaccine, but they got free rides to and from the clinic, as well as boxed lunches.

“Not only are we serving the clients with the vaccine, but we are serving the community as a whole, because as we know the more folks who are vaccinated, the better off the entire community is,” said Bennett.

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