LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — For Dr. Claudette Harell and Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, over five months of data research and planning for the churches launch of the "Bethel Initiative" paid off during Saturday's community health day at Fort Braden Elementary School in which Bethel provided access to their mobile medical unit and handed out 16 vaccines.
"We tried to bring services to an area we were told lacked a lot of resources," said Dr. Harrell.
When planning their centralized clinics, Dr. Harrell said they looked at socio-economic gathered by the City of Tallahassee and Leon County like percent of people below the poverty line. In Fort Braden that number is around 28 percent, a long with the distance between homes and health clinics, which in Fort Braden could be over 20 to 30 minutes away.
But Bethel also talked to people embedded in communities like Rosalind Tompkins who works through the Fort Braden Community with her church Turningpoint International. She informed Bethel of some of the heistancies those in rural communities face when it comes to vaccines
"The number one issue is fear. Resistance because of fear, the unknown. And number two, there's a lot of myths out there, misinformation," said Tompkins.
Bethel said they hope their consistent presence with their mobile medical unit in places like Fort Braden will help build more trust to give out vaccines and help break some of that resistance.
The next Bethel Initiative Vaccien Clinic is September 25th at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.