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Community leaders spent Christmas Eve running COVID-19 vaccine, testing sites

In Aurora and Commerce City, there were no shortages of COVID-19 vaccines or tests on Christmas Eve, thanks to community organizers.

AURORA, Colo. — It's not unusual for kids to be excited on Christmas Eve. Being excited for a shot in the arm could be a little less common. Even so, kids at the Christ Vision Ministries Church in Aurora were all smiles underneath their masks after receiving their vaccines Friday morning. 

Teguo Djoyum spent the morning helping run the vaccine event put together in partnership with Democratic State Rep. Naquetta Ricks, the African Chamber of Commerce, and the state health department. 

In the first hour, Djoyum said they had administered at least 50 vaccines, including boosters to adults and children. By the end of the day, Djoyum said about 150 vaccines were administered. 

"I am excited to see the people who are willing to be part of public health for themselves and the community," he said. 

In a non-COVID world, Djoyum said he would be at home spending the holiday with his two children. He didn't seem to mind spending part of his day helping others.

"Right after here, I’m gonna go home. I’ll be safe and I’ll help other people be safe. I’m happy I’m gonna help other families be safe, and we’ll all be together as families tonight to celebrate," said Djoyum. 

The African Chamber of Commerce gave out gift cards to kids who received their vaccines. They plan to host more vaccination events at the church in the future and will keep those dates posted on their Facebook page.

"This is an area where there’s a lot of 'RIM,' so refugee, immigrant and migrant communities, so that was the reason we chose this location, to bring this vaccine to this community that have still not received a lot of the vaccine," Djoyum said. 

Over in Commerce City, COVID-19 tests were readily available to the community at Our Lady of The Church. Maria Zubia, a community leader, and Adams14 School Board Members, spent the morning at the site, along with the executive director of Adelante Community Development, Maria Gonzalez. 

Zubia said, "If you go anywhere and people are working on a Christmas Eve, you know they’re committed. People are committed to this work, and they’re committed to this community."

Both said the church is a centralized location that has been consistently providing COVID-19 tests and vaccines since October. 

"It’s a need in our community and I know people from other areas that once they know that there’s a certain location, one that’s open and is consistent, people start utilizing it," Zubia said. 

The community site was put together through a collaboration of Tri-County Health, Adelante Community Development, COVID Check Colorado, and Colorado Access. 

They host vaccine clinics and offer testing every Thursday and Friday. Vaccines were not available Christmas Eve because vaccine administrators had the holiday off. The testing site however was available until noon, and will also be running next Friday for New Years Eve. 

You can keep track of their scheduled events on Adelante's Facebook page.

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