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Big Bend leaders launch joint initiative to combat COVID-19

Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 18:30:59-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Big Bend leaders have teamed up with a local marketing group to make sure everybody has the facts when it comes to COVID-19.

County and city governments are working with Sachs Media Group, the Department of Health, local hospitals and faith leaders to share information about how to stop the spread of COVID-19. On this website, you can learn about the different vaccines, testing how to quarantine keeping schools safe, healthy practices and how to implement them in businesses.

Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare's Chief Medical Director, Dr. Andrea Friall said people can't let their guard down if they want the pandemic to come to an end.

"We must recognize that new variants may occur in the months to come. Now is the time to double down and win this race," said Dr. Friall. "The safe and healthy initiative will offer the freshest, most accurate information for you to protect yourself."
One reason for the initiative is to help the Al Lawson Center reach its goal of getting 200 people vaccinated a day. Right now, the Al Lawson Center is still only averaging about half of its daily doses, 79 people on Monday, 120 on Tuesday and 76 on Wednesday.

Leon Health Officer Claudia Blackburn said stopping the virus needs to be a community-wide priority.

"Vaccines are now available in the shortest time on record for a pandemic," said Blackburn. "Vaccinating hundreds of thousands of Big Bend residents is a big job. It will take time."

Right now at the walkup site, teachers and sworn law enforcement over 65, frontline workers and seniors over 65 can get vaccinated from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. FAMU is teaming up with Elder Care Services to help seniors get rides to the site as well.

If you're over 60, you can call Elder Care at (850) 921-5554 to schedule a pickup. The university said they've already received 88 calls so far.

Florida's statewide COVID taskforce believes their efforts to get more minorities vaccinated is working.

Right now, more than 7,000 African-Americans in Leon County have received at least one dose That's about 13 percent of the total people getting vaccinated, with the disparity closing in on a weekly basis. Although, they still have work to do.

State Lottery Secretary John Davis helps the governor identify underserved areas that need more doses. He toured the Al Lawson Center two weeks ago. Now, Davis wants to help make sure the supply of vaccines doesn't outweigh demand.

"If we need to look at bussing or whatever the case may be, we need to come up with a solution," said Davis.

The taskforce said they're also getting closer to the purchase of a mobile vaccine unit. The goal of a unit is to bring shots directly to minority neighborhoods, cutting out the need for transportation.