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Tampa Church Gets Coronavirus Vaccine As DeSantis Targets Underserved Communities

Photo: Florida Department of Health
Photo: Florida Department of Health

A church in Tampa has begun to administer the coronavirus vaccine as part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ effort to have county health departments partner with churches and make the vaccine available in underserved communities.

According to a Florida Department of Health news release, the St. John’s Progressive Missionary Church in Tampa began administering the vaccine on Sunday.

The church, located at 2504 Chipco St. in the College Hill neighborhood of Tampa, vaccinated 590 people with their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

They will receive their second dose on Jan. 31.

“Our communities of color face a double challenge,” Hillsborough County health director Douglas Holt said in the release. “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.”

This is the sixth coronavirus vaccine site to open in Hillsborough County and the first specifically targeting an underserved community.

“Our community has done an incredible job at staying safe during the pandemic,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said in the release. “And protecting our most vulnerable is paramount during the early stages of our vaccine distribution.

“While we’re encouraged by the demand for vaccines, we must remain vigilant on the importance of our population getting vaccinated. This partnership between the state, county and the city further emphasizes how incredible our community is when we all work together.”

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.