Tampa Bay church leaders call for better vaccine outreach for communities of color

Coronavirus

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) – Across Florida, members of the statewide Coronavirus Vaccination Community Education and Engagement Taskforce met today to discuss their plan to help the disparity of the COVID-19 vaccine in minority communities.

In St. Petersburg, several church leaders from Hillsborough and Pinellas County met to talk about the 86 churches the task force has identified to be used as vaccine sites for underserved communities. Twenty-three of those churches are located in Tampa Bay.

“We are talking about availability and accessibility. If it is available make it accessible. If you make it make is accessible we will come to do,” said Rev. Dr. Wayne Thompson from First Institutional Baptist Church in St. Pete.

In recent data from the Florida Department of Health, more than 85,000 Black people have been vaccinated compared to more than 1.1 million white people.

“We know we are not asking to get in front of anyone. We just want to have our fair share our equal access to it and get our people vaccinated,” added Rev. Dr. Thompson.

The state has partnered with churches to help distribute the vaccine. Earlier this week, Governor Ron DeSantis said many of the churches have been in African-American communities and they will continue to do that across the state.

“From an administrative perspective it makes it a bit easier for us to do that as well. We are going to keep doing that 100%,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

These church leaders want state leaders to know there are churches in the minority communities across the whole state who have volunteered their spaces and are ready to help with the vaccine roll-out.

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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