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Starbucks partnering with public health leaders to get more shots in arms

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 9:40 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Get a shot of espresso and a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine with Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health department partnered with Starbucks, the “Just Food” food pantry and KDHE to get folks out outside of the Lawrence Starbucks. They offered free surveys, testing and vaccines. They also gave out t-shirts, water, iced coffee and various gift cards to encourage people to participate.

Rising COVID cases have health officials increasing efforts to get people vaccinated. Statewide, half of all Kansans have at least one dose, 43% are fully vaccinated. Among those eligible age 12 and older, 60% have one dose, with 51% fully vaccinated.

Ruaa Hassaballa Muhammad, Testing Equity Project Manager for LDCPH said, “Individuals get tested or vaccinated and then they go walk across to Starbucks. We have Starbucks gift cards as well to support the business for them being able to partner with us and so it’s been really great.”

Statewide, daily case numbers have nearly tripled over the past month. Governor Laura Kelly said the state is working to reverse the trends.

“We’re fully cognizant of that and that’s why we’re doing everything we possibly can to get shots in as many arms as we possibly can because that’s the only thing that’s going to stop it,” she said.

Lawrence health officials also are partnering with the University of Kansas Medical Center on a survey to find out what challenges community members may be facing to get tested.

She said it was important to reach all areas of the county, with all facets of Douglas Co. residents. She said having it at the Starbucks on West 23rd Street was key, as it is along a busy road and apartment complexes are near.

Muhammad said, “We’re just continuing to reach people where they’re at and we expect that more people will be providing us their test samples. Some folks take the test in their car and come and drop it off so we’re just glad to have that opportunity for our community.”

KDHE Emergency Management Director Michael McNulty said the Pfizer and modern vaccines are showing strong protection for the delta variant. He’s encouraging people to get vaccinated and believes incentives could help.

“Sort of if they were on the fence but also for them to think about with that Delta going around, with cases going around, protecting themselves, protecting their families, protecting those that can’t get the vaccine,” he said.

More than 30 people took a COVID test and more than 20 got a vaccine Thursday afternoon – adding to the more than 40 who took a test and 37 who got a shot at their clinic at the library last week.

They are hosting another vaccine clinic outside the Starbucks on W 23rd from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Friday, July 30.

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