'Vaxx-It-Ball' clinic helps vaccinate more than 100 teenagers in Overbook

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- More than 100 teenagers in the city's Overbrook section got their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at a free community clinic Saturday.

The "Vaxx-It-Ball" event at Tustin Playground allowed kids two chances to 'take a shot.'

First, participate in a free basketball clinic and then get your vaccination shot was the objective.

"There are pockets of people that aren't vaccinated; young people, people that are vaccine-hesitant," said Dr. Gregory Allen, the founder of Overbrook West Neighbors, a community group.

RELATED: Local organization holds vaccination event for teens in North Philadelphia

According to city data, only about 40% of the eligible population in Overbrook's zip code have been vaccinated.

That's low compared to the rest of the city, where more than 73% of adults have gotten at least one shot.

"The only people that are getting sick are the ones that aren't vaccinated, and the new variants are here," Allen said.

Sophia Collins, a clinical nurse with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, one of the clinic's partners, said, "It's huge. We really need as many as possible to get vaccinated."

Staff members say 160 children ages 12 to 17 years old signed up for the clinic, and walk-ins were permitted as well.

Local officials hope this is a sign of trust-building in the community.

"That's why we're here in the community showing that we care and we want the community to have their immunity," said Collins.

She hopes that immunity continues to build before school starts and many children go back to the classroom.

Teen Vaxx Ambassador Ibtihal Gaseem hopes more of her peers take their shots.

"COVID has affected so many people, so I know that just getting the vaccine gave some kind of hope to me, my family," said Gaseem.

The recreation center will hold another "Vax-It-Ball" clinic on Saturday, August 7, for second doses.

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