ORLANDO, Fla. – Hundreds of seniors received their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination drive at an Orlando church.
One by one cars pulled into Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church for the vaccination drive.
State representatives Geraldine Thompson and Travaris McCurdy teamed up with the Florida Department of Emergency Management to hold the event.
“In order to achieve community-level immunity during this pandemic we have to make sure every zip code, every community has access to the vaccine,” Thompson said.
The lawmakers said 500 people ages 65 and older signed up to get the shots. They said the appointments filled quickly.
McCurdy said it is important to bring the shots into the community.
“We want to feel safe, we want to feel protected too and so this is our obligation and duty as leaders of our community to come together and bring the resources here that are currently seemingly obsolete,” McCurdy said.
The lawmakers said access to the vaccine is key to ending the pandemic.
Data shows black Americans across the United States lag behind white Americans in getting the shots. The Associated Press looked at 17 states, including Florida, and found that black people are getting vaccinated at levels below their share of the general population.
In Orange County, African Americans make up nearly a quarter of the population. The department of health reports 4,800 black people have been vaccinated while 44,000 people who identify as white got the shot.
The lawmakers are hoping events like this will encourage people to get vaccinated.
“People have to feel comfortable with getting the vaccine first of all and they have to be in an environment and locations that they’re familiar with and so people are comfortable coming to this location and getting the vaccines and you have people that they trust who are saying you need to be vaccinated,” Thompson said.
Thompson said those who got their shot on Sunday will return in 28 days to receive their second dose.
She adds she is pushing for more vaccination drives in different communities.