MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An effort is underway to vaccinate people in underserved communities, including those in the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul.

Dr. Stephan Burgeson saw the need in the historically Black neighborhood, and partnered with Hallie Q. Brown to get vaccines to a community that is now more diverse than ever.

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Burgeson’s small practice on Selby Avenue was given permission by the Minnesota Department of Health to provide vaccinations.

“When I got the first allotment and shipment of the vaccine, I cried. What I could do for my patients was spectacular and then to be able to offer to the community who don’t have a representative here I thought was great,” he said.

Once his patients were vaccinated he called Hallie Q. Brown’s Dawn Selle for help in getting the vaccine to the community.

“I reached out to Chef Justin Sutherland. I said do you have people who need to get vaccinated that work in the food service industry. Angie Goettl, our Director of Education came down and translated for us. We have another staff member, Lisa who translated in Hmong to help our families,” said Selle. In all, it’s a collaborative effort.

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People from all walks of life were able to get a shot.

“I got registered everywhere and I’ve been checking Walgreens, CVS, just every other day or so and I figured my turn would come pretty soon, and every time I looked there was no availability,” said Ilona Martin.

Quantrell Fields, a St. Paul Barber and youth sports referee, also got his. “I want to keep people around me safe, and I want to be safe,” he said.

“It’s truly rewarding, and that’s what many of us truly go into medicine to be able to provide and do and it really affects us,” said Burgeson.”

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Hallie Q. Brown will offer more vaccines in two more weeks.

Reg Chapman