Florida is opening seven vaccination sites in partnership with houses of worship across the state.
Last week, Florida began offering shots at a community center and a church in the Pensacola area as part of an effort to bring the vaccine to places people trust. Sunday’s announcement from Gov. Ron DeSantis in Lynn Haven is the next phase of that effort.
Sites in Lynn Haven, as well as Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Jacksonville, St. Lucie, Tallahassee and Tampa will provide 500 shots per day in partnership with 50 houses of worship. Many sites serve predominantly African American churches.
“We really believe making sure these vaccines are getting into all segments of communities are important and we think working with our houses of worship are one way that we can do that,” DeSantis said.
Florida is currently vaccinating up to 60,000 per day, the Governor said, but there is capacity to do more. On Thursday, he said he asked the federal government to double its shipment of doses to the state for the week.
“We have (the capacity) to do much more and we’re trying to get more vaccine,” DeSantis said Sunday.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, a Panama City native, was on hand in neighboring Lynn Haven to kick off testing there.
The Governor’s critics have pushed back against his COVID-19 response, from up his choice not to impose mask mandates or to lock down the state to the vaccine rollout. But Patronis has consistently stood behind him.
“Everybody feels like there’s a better way to do this. But all I know is every single day, to the tune of over 900 people a day, (people) are moving to the state of Florida because of the leadership you’ve shown and what we see that has taken place in Florida and not in the New Yorks or the Illinois or the Chicagos or the Californias.”