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Tallahassee Push Is On To Vaccinate More Minority And Underserved Communities

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Tom Flanigan
The vaccination clinic at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church's Family Life Center involved the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Florida Department of Health in Leon County and Elder Care Services of the Big Bend.

With vaccination rates lagging, particularly among African-Americans, "trusted voices" are being employed to help promote the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

People of color have been infected with COVID at a higher rate than whites. Now the drive is on to convince more minority and underserved communities that vaccinations are safe and effective against the disease.
The latest dedicated clinic happened Saturday, Feb. 20 at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church's Family Life Center on North Bronough Street in Frenchtown. In a matter of hours, all 500 doses of vaccine had been distributed. The Reverend R.B. Holmes is Bethel's pastor.

"This is the beginning of really trying to reach our overall goal in the state of Florida of trying to get 70% of African-Americans and other minorities vaccinate across the state of Florida by the end of this year."

That effort, he added, can only be successful by enlisting what he called the power of "trusted voices and trusted places" in the community.

"What Dr. Robinson is doing at FAMU, what other presidents are doing across the state of Florida, what our elected officials and grass roots leaders are doing. Trusted voices, trusted venues will get us to that 70% of having African-Americans and other minorities vaccinated."

Last week, the C.D.C. reported 6% of Florida's African-Americans had been vaccinated against COVID-19. Meanwhile, Blacks comprised 14% of the state's COVID cases.

Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, with a focus on covering local news personalities, issues and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas and his home state of Maryland. In between, he spent a number of years in corporate communications for a few private firms, time that he calls “invaluable” for giving him a greatly expanded media perspective. During the relatively rare times he’s not racing to cover various community events and activities, Tom enjoys reading and playing guitar (He was a professional drummer in a previous life and is trying to expand his musical horizons). Follow Tom Flanigan on Twitter: @flanigan_tom.