‘Closing the vaccine gap’: 600 to get COVID vaccine at Tampa church as part of state pilot program

Hillsborough County

WFLA Photo

TAMPA (WFLA) – At New St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church off 50th Street in Tampa, like many others, church has changed.

“Looking at the devastation this has caused, who could’ve imagined,” Pastor Alec Hall said looking out at a sea of empty pews.

There have been no saints in the seats at New St. Matthew since the pandemic began. Services at New St. Matthew have been virtual.

“Church is still the same. Its just that we’re not physically with each other,” Hall said.

Pastor Hall loves his flock and makes his congregation’s spiritual health and physical health a top priority.

“Our church has been in lockdown for almost a year now. A couple of more weeks it will be a year. So we monitor the numbers we listen to all the experts, the medical advice. We’ve seen the statistics around the world and even the United States, Hall said.

Now like other churches around the area, he’s pushing the point of prevention by offering vaccinations at the church. The church is providing a service and closing a health gap that leaves some people of color out of the vaccine loop.

“We certainly want to spread the information, make ourselves available and we wanna become a resource location and make ourselves available to all of those who are in need of the vaccination.”

This site was opened in partnership with the City of Tampa, Florida Department of Health and Florida Division of Emergency Management.

For Pastor Hall, an attorney by trade, it’s a move that’s important and non-negotiable.

“I think life has changed. I think church has changed. Hugging, fellowshipping, things of that nature, all of that now has changed,” Hall said.

The 600 two-dose Pfizer vaccine is being administered three weeks apart and is available at New St. Matthew, for people 65 years old and older.

To register, email your name and phone to Vaccination@nsmmbc.com.

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