Seminole County health officials partner with faith organizations to provide vaccines in churches

48 churches sign up to provide vaccine distributions in coming months

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Using mobile units, Seminole County Emergency Director Alan Harris said health officials will soon begin vaccinating at faith organizations.

“Most of these faith organizations have been partners with us for a long time. They serve as emergency shelters during hurricanes, so it’s easy to get into those,” Harris said.

The goal is to focus on faith organizations in communities that are low-income, fixed-income or transportation-disadvantaged.

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“We have a fixed point of distribution but it’s on the east side of the county, but if I live on the west side of the county and I don’t have transportation, I’m on a fixed income, for me to get on a public transportation and to get to the mall will take me an hour or an hour and a half. It doesn’t make sense to me,” Harris added.

So far, 48 churches have partnered with Seminole County, willing to open up their sanctuaries and empty fellowship halls as points of distribution.

“The county doesn’t have a convention center, we don’t have fairgrounds or large meeting rooms,” Harris added. “They have large fellowship halls that are opened up every single day that have no one in them at all. Why not use them for distribution?”

One of the first churches on the list to host a one-day vaccination event is Divine Truth Christian Center, in Casselberry, with the goal of vaccinating 400 people by appointment only. Pastor Andre’ Martin, Jr. said his church has worked with Seminole County health officials to provide other health screenings, like blood pressure and diabetes screenings at his church in years past.

“There aren’t that many services in this specific area of the county,” Martin said Friday. “Instead of them having to call for a ride or take several busses, which can endanger them, now they can possibly walk here.”

Because Seminole County is hoping to target specific neighborhoods, officials are not advertising the dates of the mobile vaccination sites at the churches, but say those vaccination events are scheduled to happen within weeks.

“This is part of our duty and obligation,” Martin added. “We really want to love our neighbor.”