TAMPA, Fla. - On Sunday, 590 senior citizens received their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at St. John's Progressive Missionary Baptist Church.
The Florida Department of Health says the church is a new vaccination site that was opened in conjunction with the city of Tampa and the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Governor Ron DeSantis is encouraging health departments to partner with churches in an effort to increase the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to senior citizens in Florida and target underserved communities.
"Our communities of color face a double challenge," said Dr. Douglas Holt, director DOH-Hillsborough. "They have a higher chance of being infected. That has a lot to do with being essential workers; being out in the community and don't have a choice to work from home."
Dr. Holt added people of color are, "more vulnerable to more severe infections because many have underlying health conditions. It is essential our communities of color be the first round."
The senior pastor of St. John's Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Bartholomew Banks, Sr. added, "Without hesitancy I said yes, knowing the importance of getting the vaccine to our community. In addition to that, being one of the first in line to demonstrate the willingness to put myself on the line as an example of the need for the vaccine being distributed in our community."
Those vaccinated on Sunday are scheduled to return on January 31 for their second dose, according to the Florida Department of Health.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to email@example.com. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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