MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An effort is underway to get more COVID-19 vaccines to people in underserved communities.

Statistics show that communities of color have increased exposure to COVID-19, but are more leery of getting vaccinated.

On Friday, a vaccination clinic was held at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in north Minneapolis.

“It’s one of those spaces that people are used to coming too and comfortable coming too. So it makes it easier to get the vaccine if you are doing it in a safe, trusted space,” said Christina McCoy of M Health Fairview.

M Health Fairview, the Stair Step Foundation and Shiloh Temple are behind the effort to ensure that people who may otherwise not have access to the vaccine get their chance. About 100 people received the Pfizer vaccine on Friday. They’ll return in a few weeks to receive their second dose.

Everyone who vaccinated was 65 or older and had to pre-register. But before that, many had to be convinced the shot is safe.

“Especially in our communities of color we’ve had a struggle of getting accurate and timely information out. Also recognizing the history behind folks’ relationships with medical systems,” said McCoy.

RELATED: More Than 1 Million Vaccine Shots Administered In Minnesota

Bishop Richard Howell was the first to get the shot on Friday. He was initially reluctant but believes it’s the right thing to do at the right time.

“After thinking about it further and deeper, we felt it was time for us to not only get the shot but also show the community that it’s safe to have one,” said Howell.

“The fact is a needle stick will save my life. That’s what’s important to me,” said Cynthia Brown, a church member.

Brown also had to convince herself to get the vaccine. She’s doing it for her grandkids and great-grandkids.

“The best thing I can say to anyone is, if it’s available, take it. And just pray that it works for you and you stay safe,” said Brown.

Friday’s event is one of four COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the Twin Cities that M Health Fairview and the Stair Step Foundation have come together to provide.

John Lauritsen