Manatee County's new COVID-19 vaccination site aims to connect with underserved community

There's a new COVID-19 vaccination site set up behind the Palmetto bus stop. The site is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County hopes the new site, located at 1802 8th Avenue West, will receive additional foot traffic. 

The county's vaccination rate is currently at 54%; that's 193,000 residents who 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 with the Fl. Dept. of Health in Manatee County. 

The Health Department is now partnering with local businesses and organizations to offer incentives:

  • 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. yogurt.
  • Club 720, at 720 9th Ave W in Bradenton, is offering BOGO free adult beverages.

Health officials are hoping incentives end the lull they’re starting to see in people who want the vaccine. 

The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County also hired a researcher through a grant to find out why people aren’t getting the vaccine and to see if there’s anything they 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, who was hired using grant money 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."

Each shot gives the community the chance to get ahead of COVID. 

"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.