Florida A&M University (FAMU) President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., announced that the University will host a state operated community COVID-19 vaccination site beginning as early as next week.
The proposed site, operated by the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health – Leon County, will initially administer up to 200 vaccines daily seven days per week to people who belong to eligible groups. Plans are being finalized and the kickoff date will be known in the coming days, University and state officials said.
The site is being opened as the state seeks to ramp up vaccine operations and combat growing vaccine hesitancy and skepticism among African Americans and other communities of color.
“We want to reach out to the community, which has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” said Tanya Tatum, FAMU director of Student Health Services. “Right now, we have many Black and Hispanic individuals who have not had the vaccine.”
Many elderly residents lack computers or internet access to register online to make COVID-19 vaccination appointments. The plan is to work with community partners to bring in groups of underserved people to get vaccinated, Tatum said.
“This is a targeted outreach,” she said. “This is how we are going to start reaching the underserved.”
Since April 25, 2020, FAMU has hosted a community-based COVID-19 testing site at Bragg Memorial Stadium, where nearly 250,000 tests have been administered. Given FAMU’s position of trust in the community, Robinson said it makes sense to have a vaccination site on campus.
“We will be working to target a demographic that has been under-represented because of a lack of access and lack of trust regarding the vaccine. The FAMU site will help remedy these problems,” said Robinson, who was among FAMU eligible employees and students who received their first vaccination dose last month at the Student Health Center on campus. He is scheduled to receive his second dose next week.
“I want to set an example for others,” Robinson said. “Let’s hope that by doing this, I can convince a few more people to come and get vaccinated.”