Kinsey, Fitzgerald host news conference highlighting progress in combatting COVID-19 in Northwest Philadelphia

WYNCOTE, June 2– State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Isabella Fitzgerald, both D-Phila., today hosted a news conference at Oak Street Health to highlight the progress of the Northwest COVID-19 Coalition in closing the racial and ethnic disparity gaps in Philadelphia’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

“From low survivability outcomes resulting in lack of access to adequate health care to being severely underrepresented in both testing and vaccine access, communities of color have been among of the hardest hit throughout the course of this pandemic,” Kinsey said. “As a legislator, I could not stand idle as my neighbors and community were suffering, which it was prior to bringing medical professionals, faith-based leaders and community activists together to form this grassroots coalition. We have been tirelessly informing residents on safety updates, expanding access to testing and, now, vaccinations. While I am thrilled about the success in seeing the number of vaccinated residents steadily climb, our work is far from over. We’re still encouraging folks to get vaccinated if they haven’t yet done so.”

“At the outset of the pandemic and in the days that followed, it was very apparent where communities of color stood in terms of getting adequate health care, testing and eventually vaccines,” Fitzgerald said. “With numbers rising at an alarming rate, we felt it was incumbent upon us to step up and make sure our constituents were protected and health care was available to them as readily as anyone. This coalition has made great strides in ensuring the racial and ethnic disparity gaps were minimized as we continue to combat this virus.”

Joining Kinsey and Fitzgerald at today’s news conference were their House Democratic colleagues Reps. Darisha Parker and Napoleon Nelson, U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans and with community activists and medical professionals, who each echoed the lawmakers’ sentiments.

“I wanted to encourage people to get vaccinated so we can overcome this pandemic,” said Kiyana Bryant, a Northwest Philadelphia resident and COVID-19 survivor who has become a community advocate in quelling spread by getting vaccinated. She spoke about her complications with trying to heal from the virus, which included muscle damage and narrowly escaping kidney failure. “I want to thank the Northwest COVID-19 Coalition for allowing me to tell my story and letting me be part of today’s press conference.”

“It was such a privilege to be a part of the press conference today. I and all of us at Oak Street Health are committed to the health and wellness of our community and our seniors,” said Jazmin Jones, senior outreach coordinator at Oak Street Health. “It is our honor and privilege to provide superb health care and education to our neighborhoods every single day, especially now during this deadly pandemic.”