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Secretary of Agriculture Commends Urban Ag Partners for Hosting Vaccine Clinic, Supporting Community

10/12/2021

Wilkinsburg, PA – Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced that the Wilkinsburg Thursday Market, an urban market serving local produce to the community at no charge, would be hosting a vaccine clinic for their community on Thursday, October 14 from 4 PM to 6 PM.

"Pennsylvania's urban agriculturalists have continually stepped up to meet the needs of their underserved communities," said Redding. "They're well known for addressing food insecurity and improving access to fresh, nutritious foods; now we're seeing them step up for their community in a new way by improving access to COVID-19 vaccines."

Pennsylvanians are encouraged to trust the science behind vaccine development, but also refer to health professionals in the community to have their vaccine questions answered and make educated choices for themselves, their families, and their community.

The free COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Wilkinsburg Thursday Market is hosted in coordination with UPMC. Walk-ups are welcome, but appointments are also available. Those interested in scheduling an appointment can do so online through the UPMC COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Form, just search for the Wilkinsburg Thursday Market. Both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines will be available.

Public health crises, like COVID-19, have more severe impacts on underserved populations, making those populations more vulnerable to severe illness and death. The Department of Health has worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to address these disparities within not only racial and ethnic minority groups, but other marginalized populations. Addressing COVID-19 through a health equity lens is critical for both COVID-19 mitigation and vaccine distribution.

COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect against the virus, including new variants. Data shows that vaccines provide protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

"Hosting the COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the market is another way we can support the health and well-being of our community," says Executive Director, Vicki Cherney.

The Wilkinsburg Thursday Market is a weekly community event and welcome greenspace in the heart of the community. Fresh fruit and vegetables, purchased from three family-owned farms, are offered free of charge from June through mid-October. A variety of community partners provide information on healthy living choices and Wilkinsburg organizations and small businesses display their products and services to market patrons. Local musicians' performances add to the festival atmosphere.

The market is a join initiative through the Wilkinsburg Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Wilkinsburg Community Advancement Association. The partnership is in pursuit of the two organization's co-equal goal to address food insecurity and improve the health and economic well-being of residents.

"Underlying health and social inequities put many BIPOC communities at increased risk of severe illness and health complications from COVID-19," said Secretary Redding. "Food access and health go hand in hand, and urban agriculture plays a vital role in combatting the injustices seen within our food system. Urban gardens serve as trusted neighborhood hubs, connecting people to healthy, nutritious foods and resources that benefit the health and vitality of the community."

The Pennsylvania Department of Health urges Pennsylvanians to follow CDC guidance for wearing masks when required by law, rule and regulations, including healthcare, local business and workplace guidance. Pennsylvanians in counties with substantial or high transmission of COVID-19 should wear a mask indoors in public situations.

The Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient to all Pennsylvanians: 

  • All Pennsylvanians age 12 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. Use Vaccine Finder to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
  • commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
  • Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.
  • The Unite Against COVID Weekly Update is a round-up of news you can use and answers to your most pressing vaccine questions – delivered directly to your inbox every week.
  • Frequently asked questions can be found here.

    MEDIA CONTACT:    Shannon Powers, Agriculture, shpowers@pa.gov    

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