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Leon DOH: 189,000 people eligible in Leon County for COVID vaccine April 5

Posted at 5:54 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 23:39:36-04

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — As more vaccine sites open up, ABC 27 is getting a better look at the impacts our community is still facing from COVID-19.

"There are about 189,000 people yet to be vaccinated in Leon County when we get to that 18 plus so we're going to have a lot of work to do really fast," said Leon County Department of Health Officer Claudia Blackburn.

Blackburn gave an update on the State of COVID -19 in the Big Bend as part of Tallahassee Memorial Hospital's final weekly update. Blackburn said about 77 percent of seniors have received at least one dose and about 60 percent of those 50 and up. In order to reach herd immunity, it could take months.

Right now, the health department is receiving about 6,500 doses of vaccines a week, while averaging 30 cases of the virus a day. Blackburn said, despite vaccine expansions, this is not the time to relax.

"We hope the vaccine will start flowing in because we are really excited for the opportunity to be very busy getting shots in arms," said Blackburn.

There are more opportunities ahead this weekend. New Covenant Church in Tallahassee offering the Johnson and Johnson. There is still time to sign up to receive the vaccine if you meet eligibility requirements. Appointments are being taken until 7 p.m. You can reach them at (850) 408-1618.

"We're just glad to be a part. We're in the community," said Church Minister Mary Griffin. "This is how we show the community that we care and we have a concern. My pastor was concerned about the community because we do have a lot of seniors in the community and a lot of people can't get out. We wanted to a part of this because it's very important. It's going to help stop this virus from spreading."

The church is not alone in the fight to get people vaccinated. Bond Community Health, Neighborhood Medical Center and the local coronavirus taskforce are teaming up to knock on doors and help people get to Mt Zion Church Saturday as well.

"We're definitely excited to decrease some of the vaccine hesitancy in our community," said Jeanne Freeman with NMC.

When it comes to what hospitals in Tallahassee are seeing, as of Friday, only four people are being treated at Capitol Regional Center for COVID-19. At Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, 15 patients are being treated. TMH Chief Integration Officer Dr. Dean Watson said these cases are proving how necessary these vaccines are since half those patients were eligible to receive the vaccine but didn't.

"They're over the age of 60. I cannot emphasize this enough. This is real. Please get vaccinated. People are still getting hospitalized," said Dr. Watson. "It's unfortunate when we go to evaluate folks and they declined the opportunity for vaccinations."