PALMETTO, Fla. - A new COVID-19 testing and vaccination site is set up behind the Palmetto bus station located at 1802 8th Avenue West in hopes of making the shot more accessible to the Manatee County community.
"You have to work with your partners," explained Dr. Jennifer Bencie with the Fl. Department of Health in Manatee County. "You can’t do it all by yourself."
Currently, 54 percent, or 193,000 Manatee County residents, have been vaccinated.
"We still have a way to go to reach the 70 percent we need to achieve herd immunity and make sure we have the disease fully under control," said Dr. Benice.
The Health Department is now partnering with local businesses and organizations to offer vaccination incentives because it is seeing a lull in people who want the vaccine.
- The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is giving one free admission for anyone 18 with the purchase of an adult admission.
- Menchies Frozen Yogurt off Ranch Lake Boulevard in Bradenton is offering a free 5-oz. frozen yogurt.
- Club 720 at 720 9th Ave W. in Bradenton is offering buy one get one free adult beverages.
To cut down on vaccine hesitancy, the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County used grant money to hire a researcher to determine why people aren’t getting the vaccine and see if there’s anything it can do to get people to change their minds.
"My main job is to really get to know the community, build relationships and trust," said Sabrina Korn.
Korn hopes to ease concerns and address vaccine rumors.
"We really are working on getting to know these different populations and communities and seeing what they need from us. What questions they would like answered. How to make it convenient for them when it comes to getting the vaccine," she said.
Each shot gives the community the chance to get ahead of COVID-19.
"We have to just think about our family and think about what this could do to our community and then getting us back to some normalcy," said Tarnisha Cliatt the president and CEO of the Manasota Black Chamber of Commerce.
The Palmetto testing and vaccination site is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.