MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee mom got more than 500 residents with disabilities and their families connected to COVID-19 vaccinations.
Delores Sallis is the founder of Parent University, which serves as a resource for Black and other families of color and their loved ones with disabilities in the Milwaukee area.
Sallis was inspired by her son Albert who lived with multiple disabilities and died last year.
“A lot of people I know did not trust the vaccine," Sallis said. "There were lots of myths out there. They needed to trust someone they knew who already had the vaccine. My parent groups brought people together, so everyone was getting the same vaccine from the same trusted source at the same time. People were with their friends and neighbors.”
According to the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD), Sallis began a unique partnership with Hayat Pharmacy.
"Hayat Pharmacy has been dedicated through the pandemic in providing care and resources to the community in Milwaukee," Hayat Pharmacy's Chief Clinical Officer, Dimmy Sokhal, said. "We have organized thousands of clinics in the community to meet Wisconsin residents where they are comfortable and established several trusted partnerships with community organizations. We were thrilled to partner with Delores and support vaccination efforts.”
Sallis drove dozens of people to vaccine appointments, and provided full meals at her vaccine clinics at the African American Women's Center.
She also set up in-home vaccinations with Hayat. In just one household, 18 people got the vaccine. According to BPDD, in January she organized in-home vaccines for 140 people, including 88 seniors with disabilities.
Sallis and Parent University received a grant from BPDD. BPDD Executive Director, Beth Swedeen praised Sallis’ work.
“BPDD is honored to invest in Delores and other community leaders statewide who know their neighbors, are trusted resources, and come to people where they are at: in their homes and neighborhoods,” Swedeen said. “As we work to ensure people with disabilities have accurate information and access to vaccination, Delores’ efforts have literally saved lives and kept countless people with disabilities and their loved ones out of hospitals.”
On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3020 W. Vliet St. in Milwaukee, Sallis will have a free resource fair and luncheon where vaccines will be offered.
To learn more, contact Sallis at 414-208-9410.