Tampa Bay pharmacy gets 200 Johnson & Johnson vaccines to help minority community


TAMPA (WFLA) – Between access and vaccine hesitancy, Black Floridians make up less than 10% of those vaccinated so far.

A local pharmacist is working to change that.

This week the Health Matters Community Pharmacy in East Tampa received 200 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine with the help of State Rep. Dianne Hart (D- Tampa).

Getting people vaccinated has always been a mission for Dr. Vondalyn Wright, who owns Health Matters. When the pandemic hit, she knew it was even more important.

“I’ve seen people pass away and I’ve seen people hospitalized. This vaccine will stop that,” Dr. Wright said.

That’s why she rolled up her own sleeve Tuesday and officially received her COVID-19 vaccine, to show the public she is confident in the vaccine.

So did Erika Hall, a frontline Licensed Nurse Practitioner, who will be helping administer the shots.

“For those who may not trust the vaccine or even trust science, we’re here to tell you that, not only do we work it, but we trust it,” Hall said.

Getting to this point hasn’t been easy though.

For months Dr. Wright has tried unsuccessfully to get a supply of the vaccine to help the African American community, which is often overlooked.

She contacted Rep. Hart and was able to secure 200 doses of the J & J vaccine with more expected this week.

“The ability to have a small Black-owned pharmacy where people are plenty of people know her personally I think that makes a difference,” said Rep. Hart. “The issue that I’m finding in my district and the African American community is that many people don’t want to get the vaccination.”

The goal is to get as many shots in arms as possible. They hope the single dose shot will draw in a community that otherwise may be hesitant.

“A lot of times we don’t come back. So the one and done is good for us,” Dr. Wright said.

If you’re interested in getting a shot, you can sign up on the Health Matters website.

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