Health professionals, community leaders work for widespread vaccine access

Posted at 6:46 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 18:46:32-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Beginning Thursday, senior citizens in Leon County will be able to get vaccinated at the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee.

But, medical professionals and community leaders in Tallahassee's Southside maintain that making sure everyone has access to the vaccine is key.

The county said an allotted amount of the vaccine will go to federally-qualified health care centers; Bond Community Health Care and Neighborhood Medical Center are two of those in this community.

With the virus disproportionately impacting communities of color, leaders say those areas need to be prioritized, especially seniors.

"Activating all measures that will make it easily accessible in areas like mine. We've seen COVID-19 disproportionately affect the African American communities," said Talethia Edwards. "So, hopefully, those who are in charge of setting up these sites will be thinking about ways to calm the fears in areas like mine, disseminate the information properly but have access readily available in multiple ways and multiple areas."

Edwards is a Southside Community Activist and added educating people on the vaccine is necessary, with the history of African Americans and vaccines leaving some fearful.

Neighborhood Medical Center has not received vaccines from the county yet for people 65 and up but said when they do they have a plan to administer the vaccine.

"As soon as we are able to get more of the vaccine we will definitely step up to do what we can to get as many people vaccinated as possible," said Jeanne' Freeman, CEO of Neighborhood Medical Center. "Right now, we're not in any possession of any of the vaccine for 65 and up at this moment but we do anticipate having some either by the end of this week or early next week."

If you are in the 65 and up age bracket and would like to get a vaccine Thursday, you have to register either online or by phone with the FDOH-Leon.

Residents are asked to please bring government-issued identification, and to anticipate some possible delays.

The vaccinations will be administered via a series of drive-through clinics at FDOH-Leon's Administration Building located at 2965 Municipal Way.

To schedule your vaccination, you can call the Leon County COVID-19 Call Center at 850-404-6300 and choose option 1 to schedule an appointment.

Eligible residents who are 65 and over can register online by filling out an FDOH-Leon Moderna vaccination appointment request form online by clicking here.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering