TAMPA — The vaccine registration web site crashed proper after it went reside Monday morning in Hillsborough County, leaving the cellphone as the one possibility. However callers had been on maintain for hours, lower off mid-conversation or dropped totally.
And with solely 9,000 doses of the coveted vaccine accessible, these residing in Tampa’s most underserved communities by no means had a prayer. However on Sunday morning, the vaccine got here to them.
The Florida Division of Well being in Hillsborough County administered 500 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to members of St. John Progressive Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa’s School Hill neighborhood.
It’s a part of an effort by Gov. Ron DeSantis to vaccinate extra of the state’s most weak residents by partnering with group facilities, church buildings and different establishments that foster belief.
“We actually imagine ensuring these vaccines are entering into all segments of communities is necessary and we expect working with our homes of worship is a technique that we will do this,” DeSantis mentioned Sunday as he introduced partnerships with 50 largely Black homes of worship in Tampa, Lynn Haven, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Jacksonville, Port St. Lucie and Tallahassee.
St. John’s is one among seven church buildings the place the vaccine shall be administered. All of the church buildings will assist signal individuals up for appointments to get a vaccine and assist to coach individuals about why they need to get one.
The purpose is 500 vaccinations per day at every website for these 65 and older. The state is ready to obtain 250,000 photographs of the two-dose vaccine this week, DeSantis mentioned.
“No matter no matter points are occurring in anybody’s life, you possibly can at all times get to church on Sunday morning,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor mentioned Sunday. “So what higher location to have the ability to administer this vaccine, particularly to these people that could be excessive danger?”
The initiative comes as DeSantis faces criticism for combined messages or no message in any respect in regards to the state’s plan for rolling out the restricted variety of vaccine doses accessible. Info his workplace has launched is incomplete and typically totally different from federal information. Questions from reporters for readability have gone unanswered.
Regardless of all of the issues in Hillsborough final week, well being officers distributed 9,000 doses of the vaccine, mentioned Dr. Douglas Holt, director of the Florida Division of Well being within the county. They’d deliberate for 1,500.
The additional doses got here from Tampa Common Hospital, he mentioned — a welcome shock, however one that exposed the restrictions of the county’s coronavirus name middle.
The county has employed a brand new contractor to assist area a better quantity of calls, Holt mentioned. He anticipated one other 9,000 vaccine doses could be accessible this week. The place and when has but to be finalized.
“The vaccine provide nonetheless drives the whole lot,” he mentioned. “Relaxation assured, no vaccine shall be left over. If it comes into this county, we’ll be getting it out.”
Since Dec. 27, the day Florida counties obtained their first shipments of the coronavirus vaccine, Hillsborough County has vaccinated 26,777 individuals, data present. Of these, 3,869 have obtained the second shot within the two-dose vaccination.
By Sunday afternoon, well being officers had administered the coronavirus vaccine to 558,326 individuals statewide, and 38,409 of them had accomplished the two-shot collection.
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