Monday, 15 February 2021 17:32

Police officer, pastor signing Richmond County residents up for COVID vaccine

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The Rev. Michael Patrick, who serves as community liaison for the Hamlet Police Department, is helping Richmond County residents register for the COVID-19 vaccine. The Rev. Michael Patrick, who serves as community liaison for the Hamlet Police Department, is helping Richmond County residents register for the COVID-19 vaccine. Contributed photo

HAMLET — A local pastor and longtime law enforcement officer is working to help Richmond County residents sign up to get vaccinated against COVID-19.


The Rev. Michael Patrick, pastor of Holly Grove Missionary Baptist Church, is participating in the “Race to Vaccinate” to help people get their shot.

Patrick served as a deputy with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office for more than 20 years and joined the Hamlet Police Department last October. He is currently the department’s community liaison with the rank of lieutenant.

Part of Patrick’s responsibility as community liaison is to organize safety fun fairs, where the “community can interact positively with police officers.”

But state government regulations in response to the pandemic prohibit mass gatherings.

He said he was contacted last week by Health and Human Services Director Dr. Tommy Jarrell to use his role as a member of the local clergy to help spread the word about vaccine availability.

“I figured this would be a great community outreach that I could incorporate with the Hamlet Police Department,” Patrick said. “This is something that’s desperately needed.”

Although he works in Hamlet, Patrick said he’s reaching out to communities across the county.

“There are some folks that have their reservations about this particular shot and I’m just making sure they’re aware that this particular shot is available, not only for their safety, but for the safety of other people, as well.”

Last week, FirstHealth announced that there would be at least 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine available this week in Richmond County.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday that 5,738 people in Richmond County have received the first of the two-dose vaccine, and 1,349 have been administered both. The doses are given about four weeks apart.

State officials announced last week that teachers, school staff and child care workers will be eligible for the vaccine starting Feb. 24.

To sign up for the vaccine locally, call 910-417-3030 and leave your name, date of birth and phone number. Local health officials ask that callers not leave multiple messages.

As of Friday, Patrick said he had registered about 20 people since he started that Tuesday.

“It’s a very important matter,” Patrick said. “We’re trying to get back to a somewhat normal state in our, not only world, but our county.”

 

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