Team DC will be hosting a vaccine exchange on Wednesday, Feb. 9, to encourage members of D.C.’s LGBTQ community to get vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19.
The effort comes in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, DC Health, Capital Pride Alliance, LULAC Lambda, Metro Weekly, and the newly-opened LGBTQ bar Kiki, which will host the clinic.
Japer Bowles, the director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, told Metro Weekly that the mayor’s office has been seeking out community partners to host various vaccine and booster clinics as part of a larger effort to increase vaccination rates, such as more vulnerable populations or sub-groups within the LGBTQ community. Similar events will be held at other “safe spaces” in the community, including churches, community centers, and local nonprofits.
To incentivize people to get vaccinated or boosted, organizers will be handing out coupons or tickets for a free cocktail, redeemable at either Kiki, which is open from Thursday to Sunday, or The Dirty Goose, the LGBTQ bar next door to Kiki, which will be open Wednesday night and the following weekend. Organizers will also be holding free raffles to win a pair of tickets to either a Washington Wizards basketball game or a Washington Capitals hockey game.
Those attending the event will be vaccinated or boosted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Brent Minor, the executive director of Team DC, the umbrella organization for LGBTQ sporting leagues in the District, said sponsoring the vaccination event ties in nicely with the organization’s evolution into a health and fitness association.
“We are expanding our vision, looking at all aspects of health and not just playing sports. And so that obviously includes staying healthy in terms of COVID and the vaccines. We want to take away as many barriers for people getting the vaccine or the booster as possible,” says Minor. “We want to encourage people to take the vaccine, and we hope that people will take advantage of this opportunity and get a free cocktail. You can’t beat that.”
The event is open to all, regardless of residency, which is why Team DC has been promoting the event, not only on its own social media accounts, but on Wizards and Caps fan pages.
“We’re hoping people who might not normally known about this say, ‘Hmm, free Wizards tickets. I want that, so I’ll finally go get my booster,’ or whatever,” adds Minor. “And there are some people who will hear about the cocktail offer, and they’ll say, ‘Okay, I want a cocktail,’ so they’ll come to the event.”
Keaton Fedak, the owner of Kiki, told Metro Weekly he was happy to host the event on a night when his bar isn’t usually open.
“It’s worked out well that I have the space to host this. There’s plenty of space where you can be comfortable, and with having the Goose next door, the idea is like, ‘Let’s try and get the last few people to come out and get vaccinated so we can just return to normal,'” he said, referring to the disruptions in life that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused.
Minor says he doesn’t know how many people to expect on Wednesday night.
“Events like this are always kind of by the seat of your pants,” he notes. “Our goal is to process as many people as possible. But frankly, it’s hard to know how many people are still in need of a vaccine or a booster. We don’t really know. So it could be the cast of thousands, or it could be crickets. And if it is crickets, that tells us that our community is doing a good job and taking care of itself and trying to stay healthy. And sometimes that’s good to know. But either way, it’s a good message for us to be putting out, to remind people of the importance of this.”
The COVID-19 vaccine and booster exchange will be held from 5-9 p.m. on Feb. 9 at Kiki, 915 U St. NW. For more information, visit www.facebook.com.
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