MSK Joins the Abyssinian Baptist Church to Answer COVID-19 Vaccine Questions

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Cynthia McCollum, Linda Thompson, and Dr. Monika Shah  

Ms. McCollum (left), Ms. Thompson (middle), and Dr. Shah (right).

On November 3, a panel of MSK doctors joined Linda Thompson, leader of the Abyssinian Baptist Church’s Health Ministry, in an educational webinar to discuss questions about COVID-19 vaccination and address common myths and misconceptions about the vaccine.

The panel featured Deputy Physician-In-Chief and infectious disease specialist Monika Shah, pediatric hematologic oncologist Tanya Trippett, and Head of General Gynecology Deborah Goldfrank, and was moderated by Cynthia McCollum, who is Senior Vice President of Hospital Administration and leader of MSK’s COVID-19 emergency response.

The discussion centered around the safety profile of the vaccine in adults, pregnant people, and the newly eligible group of children ages 5 to 11; information about booster doses and additional doses for immune-compromised individuals; the disparities experienced by communities of color throughout the pandemic; addressing rumors that the vaccine impacts fertility; and tips for managing your and your family’s health during flu season and over the holidays.

This online discussion continues MSK’s partnership with the Abyssinian Baptist Church, which began in April 2021 when our two institutions joined forces with the City of New York to open a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the church for the Harlem community and all New Yorkers. Each day at the church, a rotating staff of 30 MSK volunteers ran the clinic and made the vaccine and related educational materials available to the public. Through this collaboration, we administered about 12,000 doses of vaccine to community members.

“Two of the oldest institutions in New York formed a partnership to serve our communities for the greater health of all. The Abyssinian Baptist Church, with a legacy of 213 years of advocacy, leadership, and faith, opened its doors so that all New Yorkers could receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Ms. Thompson. “Our friends at MSK embraced each person who walked through our doors with the same compassion, caring, and expertise they have been known for since 1884.”

Ms. McCollum notes that it’s been a joy to work with the Abyssinian Baptist Church and to help improve access to the vaccine in the community. “We’re so grateful for our strong partnership with the Abyssinian Baptist Church, and to have the opportunity to spread vaccine awareness and provide scientific information to this community and the general public.”

Both Ms. Thompson and Ms. McCollum shared that this collaboration would continue through the pandemic and in future joint health initiatives.

The Abyssinian Baptist Church hosts a vaccine mobile van outside the church on Sundays in November, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointment is required. The church is located at 132 Odell Clark Place (formerly 138th Street), between Lenox Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.

For more information about COVID-19 and the vaccine, please visit www.mskcc.org/coronavirus.