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Former Ravens Players In NFL Alumni Chapter Host COVID Vaccine Clinic Saturday

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Former Ravens players kicked off the NFL Alumni's new Covid-19 campaign Saturday.

The goal is to clear up misconceptions about the vaccine and encourage people to make the decision to protect themselves, their families and communities by getting vaccinated.

Jasper Ross received the COVID vaccine.

"I wasn't sure if I was going to get it or not," he said.

It's a partnership to tackle COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

"If you can get vaccinated, you should get vaccinated. And if you're not vaccinated, how do we get you there? Let's figure that out," said Femi Ayanbadejo, vice president of the Baltimore chapter of the NFL Alumni and a former Ravens linebacker.

Saturday, the Baltimore chapter of the NFL Alumni teamed up with Lifebridge Health at the Center for Urban Families to raise awareness and educate those who have not gotten the shot yet.

"It's important because we still need to get a certain rate of getting people vaccinated, so we're out trying to encourage people," said Kyle Richard, the Baltimore chapter's president and a former Ravens punter.

It's all part of the NFL Alumni Health's campaign with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aiming to build vaccination confidence across 20 chapters throughout the country.

"I think taking an empathetic and compassionate approach, basically saying, 'If we're not there yet, we'll keep being here with you. We'll keep talking you through the process until you're ready," Ayanbadejo said.

It also serves as a reminder that the fight against this virus is not yet over.

People like Ross rolled up their sleeves at the event to get the shot.

"So far, I feel great," he said. "When it came down to my grandkids, I just decided to go ahead and get it done."

In west Baltimore, another vaccine clinic was hosted by Medstar Health.

This comes as the more contagious Delta variant has fueled the spike in infections.

More than 1,100 new COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths were reported in Maryland Saturday.

"I think unfortunately due to misinformation, and I think social media has played a big role in this - people are not trusting their doctors," Ayanbadejo said. "I think when it comes to saving lives, people that need to get vaccinated should be vaccinated."

Right now, data shows 79.9 percent of all Marylanders have received at least one dose of the shot, which is on track to reach Gov. Larry Hogan's goal of an 80 percent vaccination rate by Labor Day.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.


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