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Local leaders create new initiatives to get vaccine access in rural communities

Posted at 5:53 PM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 23:13:57-04

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — It's another day of giving out hundreds of boxes of food for local leaders in Gadsden County, but Thursday they made safety a priority too.

"What we are trying to do is actually look at those disenfranchised areas within and outside the city of Tallahassee to find out how Bethel's mobile medical unit can be of service," Dr. Claudette Harrell Project Manger with the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church mobile medical unit said.

Dr. Harrell said it starts with meeting people where they are at.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccination coverage was lower in rural counties at 38.9 percent versus 45.7 percent in urban counties.

Dr. Harrell said she has seen this first hand in Tallahassee.

This is why she's working alongside Pastor Elouise Jones from Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center, one of the many church partnerships across the big bend, to give out food in rural areas and sign people up for the vaccine.

Bethel Missionary Bapti

"And just following her (Pastor Jones) for the past two weeks she has a massive number of people that actually visit her worship center to obtain food," Dr. Harrell said.

Each person could be one more Dr. Harrell and her team can reach and provide access to the vaccine.

"We want to meet our community where they're at and when I say that we want to blend and cover the social and economic gap in our community," Kathy Johnson, School Board member Gadsden County, said.

The next spot for the mobile medical clinic is Ft. Braden Elementary School, an area Dr. Harrell says has some of the lowest rates of vaccines in Tallahassee.

"The Delta virus is surging and it doesn't have an age label, it doesn't have a race label and it is just merging into our community," Dr. Harrell said.

The mobile unit is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1510 Blountstown Highway to help increase access in that community.

Everyone across the community is welcome to come out if you still need to get your shot.