WACO, Texas – Only ten percent of African-Americans in McLennan County are fully-vaccinated. The Waco-McLennan County Health District has partnered with local African-American churches to help bring these numbers up.

The Health District says Pastor Jimmy Hunter of Oliver reached out to Mayor Dillon Meek with an idea which has now turned into a “Shots for Souls” vaccination clinic.

Health leaders says the vaccine is the most effective way to slow the spread of diseases associated with COVID-19.

Health Director LaShonda Malrey-Horne says other Council members in the community helped to get everyone together to make this event a success.

“We really felt like it was time for us to do a big reach, and work with our faith leaders and the pastors in the black church to get the word out,” Horne said. “Try to get those numbers up a little bit.”

With the holidays coming up, she says time is short.

“Last Thanksgiving was a little bit different. So we wanted to make sure that this year, people had the chance to have a more normal Thanksgiving, and be able to gather safely,” Horne said.

Pleasant Olive Missionary Baptist Church Pastor E. Shaun Williams says he wants to help bring education on the importance of health and wellness in the community.

“I think as pastors, and as leaders, we have an obligation to not only speak to the spiritual side – but also some of the local concerns within the community,” Williams said.

He hopes the event will help put things into perspective for those who may be misinformed about the shot, and help make a healthier community.

“What we are trying to do is encourage other family members, other friends, those in your circle to spread the information to get them informed to encourage them to be a part of such an event,” Williams said.

The event will be held Sunday, October 17 at the Health District – located at 225 W. Waco Drive – from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Health District says the second dose clinic will be held on November 14, to give people time to get fully vaccinated before the holidays.

Pre-registration is encouraged, but it is not required. To register for the clinic, you can click here.