10TV: Missionary Travels Across the World for Vaccine at OhioHealth
In early 2021, getting an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine felt like a full time job to many as demand exceeded appointment availability in the United States. However, as the year continued, people were able to easily register or walk-in for their vaccine as demand decreased and supply was readily accessible.
That is not the case in other countries around the world. For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) only 50,000 people are vaccinated in a country of 90 million people due to low supply of the vaccine. That's roughly only one out of every 1,800 people.
Lorraine Charinda is now one of those vaccinated people in the DRC. Lorraine is a missionary, serving as an agriculturalist and rural economic development specialist in the DRC. There she works on farms, including the Kamisamba Farm. There is an orphanage on that farm and Lorraine helps the 500 children that live, as well as some of the local farmers in the area, learn farming skills. According to the United Methodist Church, farming is a tool for both evangelism and sustainable economic development.
The West Ohio Conference (WOC) of the United Methodist Church recognized the importance of Lorraine's work on the community she serves and wanted to ensure that she'd be healthy and protected against COVID-19, so she could continue her work. The WOC asked OhioHealth if they could get Lorraine here, would the system provide a vaccination series for her. OhioHealth agreed and the WOC spent months working with the U.S. government to bring Lorraine to the U.S.
Lorraine arrived in Columbus in mid-October and received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine from Joe Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system director of infectious diseases, a few days later. While she's been in the U.S., she has spent time meeting with churches throughout Ohio, visiting the Columbus Zoo, touring the Ohio State University campus and even tried tacos for the first time! She was given a recipe and is planning on making them for her friends when she returns to the DRC.
On November 10, she received her second dose of the vaccine from Dr. Gastaldo and will remain in Ohio for a few more weeks until she is considered to be fully vaccinated. Then she'll return to the DRC to continue her important work.
10TV reporter Lindsey Mills spent time with Lorraine while she received her second vaccine. Click the 10TV logo below to view the story and hear why Lorraine is so grateful to be vaccinated.
CNN also covered Lorraine's journey to receive the vaccine. Click the CNN logo below to read the story.