Entrepreneur assembles mass vaccination site for underserved people
VALLEJO, Calif .– At the Solano County Fairgrounds in Northern California, getting vaccinated is easy. Benjamin Gammon is the Acting Administrator of Emergency Medical Services for Solano County.
âWe have six lines of vaccines ranging from full dose and booster influenza from Moderna to Pfizer, JNJ and Pfizer Pediatric,â said Gammon.
Over the past few weeks, Gammon has happily vaccinated hundreds of children. The mass vaccination site was set up in early February to get vaccinated in the arms of underserved people.
According to Kaiser Family Foundation, During the vaccination rollout, blacks and Hispanics were less likely than their white counterparts to have received a vaccine, but these disparities narrowed over time.
Operations manager Kyle Newport said many people of color don’t necessarily shy away from getting vaccinated. He says the disproportionate vaccination rates are mainly due to lack of access.
âThe people who are least likely to have an income are usually the last people to get health care by opening up and inviting everyone to come here, we can try to bridge that gap, make sure that anyone can go to school and find a job, can work and can resume some sort of normal life as they knew it before the pandemic, âNewport said.
Dinette Thompson, who received a booster shot, says she didn’t hesitate at all.
âI am an essential worker,â said Thompson. âI work in a nursing home and I need to have the proper vaccines so I won’t give or catch anything. I am a child of God, I need to do what is right and in order.
The man behind the entire operation is Bill Hammond, the president and founder of Hammond Entertainment. He usually books events with prominent celebrities.
âBeyonce, Stevie Wonder, Babyface, Dave Matthews,â Hammond said.
It was while all the stars were staying at home during the pandemic that he got a call from Kaiser.
âOut of the blue in January, the senior vice president and chief medical officer called me,â Hammond said. âHe just picked up the phone and said, ‘Hey, Bill, can you come over here and build and manage the logistics and operations for a mass vaccination site? We want to do 2,500 – 5,000 a day ‘, and in three seconds. I said yes.'”
For months, he has employed hundreds of people from the community to make it happen.
Hammond knows the community well. He was born in San Francisco and his father was an orthopedic surgeon with Kaiser in Sacramento for decades.
âI’ve been a minority-owned business for 26 years and I think it played a role in the fact that there were so many African Americans here at the forefront who were running this business with a lot of other minorities, âHammond said. âI think it was very helpful. And also to be an inspiration to them, another minority company can come here and run an operation of this magnitude with success, grace and compassion. bigger stage, bigger platform, because it does so much good in the community and it is and it is an honor for me to have the opportunity to lead this operation with my team.