ST. LOUIS — On a Tuesday night, nearly two dozen young people, their friends and parents packed Strauss Park in midtown St. Louis.
The big event was a fun one for the 16- to 24-year-olds, but for the city's health department it was a much more serious mission: get more people vaccinated against COVID-19 and the delta variant.
"This is still a dire situation and we are still in the middle of a pandemic. At this point, every dose counts," said Dr. Frederick Echols, the Acting Director of the St. Louis City Health Department.
COVID cases continue to spike in St. Louis.
What's more, the highly contagious delta variant also isn't letting up.
In an effort to win the battle, the health department teamed up with the group, the St. Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective and used a dance battle to educate the crowd about the deadly viruses.
They also encouraged as many people as they could to stop by their mobile clinic and roll up their sleeves.
"I'm so glad I did it," said 22-year-old Branden Lewis.
Before he emceed the teen, dance competition, Lewis got a covid vaccine.
"The vaccine has been out a while now. A lot of people who I care about have gotten the vaccine and they're fine. I think I made the right decision," said Lewis.
Amid all the fun, Organizers also armed the crowd with hand sanitizer and free masks.
Moves they hope will help turn the tide.
"We want to make sure that every individual in our community has an opportunity to receive a covid vaccine," Dr. Frederick Echols said.
On Saturday, the Health Department's mobile clinic will offer more covid vaccines at the Cherokee Recreation Center, located at 3200 South Jefferson. from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on the south side.
They'll also be at the Northside Early Childhood Center from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. That center is located at 3033 North Euclid.