State partnering with faith-based community to bring vaccines into underserved areas

600 people vaccinated at St. Philip Van Minh Vietnamese Catholic Church in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – As part of an effort to get people in underserved communities access to the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced several one-day vaccination events happening this weekend across the state.

A long line of cars stretched through the St. Philip Van Minh Vietnamese Catholic Church in Orlando on Saturday. State Reps. Travaris McCurdy and Anna Eskamani worked with the state to get 600 people vaccinated on Saturday.

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“We wanted to come to the community, to trusted sites and work with trusted voices,” McCurdy said.

The event at the church was one of nine happening in the coming days across Florida as part of DeSantis’ partnership with the faith-based community. He said the goal is to bring the vaccine into underserved communities.

“We’ve done dozens and dozens and dozens of vaccine sites at churches, predominantly African American churches, since the beginning of January,” DeSantis said during a news conference Friday in Ocala.

The governor tweeted a map on Friday that showed how the state has partnered with more than 200 churches across the state to administer nearly 60,000 doses.

Saturday’s event focused on the Vietnamese and Asian American communities. Eskamani said they have faced challenges in getting access to the vaccine.

“There were so many language barriers with the Vietnamese community and the Asian American community as a whole, that having the ability to have a one-stop shop, to RSVP at a location that you trust at your place of worship was transformational,” Eskamani said.

McCurdy adds not everyone can get to a mass vaccination site, so by partnering with places of worship, they are bringing the vaccine to them.

“We’re going to the people instead of putting the burden on people to go to these other sites,” McCurdy said.

Eskamani said that will make a difference in bringing an end to the pandemic.

“The faster we can we reach herd immunity with vaccination, the sooner we can get out of this pandemic,” she said.

The state is hosting a vaccination event on Sunday at Shiloh Baptist Church Youth Life Center in Orlando.

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