Free COVID-19 vaccination event helping Spanish-speakers at Shepherd of the Woods Church, happening today

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A local church is making it easier for some of our neighbors to get the COVID-19 vaccine – by removing the language barrier.

There is a free vaccination event happening on Sunday at Shepherd of the Woods Lutheran church (7860 Southside Blvd Jacksonville, FL 32256) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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The goal is to help Spanish-speakers get access to medical care in their language.

23-year-old Jesus Bautista got his vaccine at the church.

“I just got vaccinated. I feel really great, thank goodness,” he told us in Spanish.

He doesn’t speak English, so the guarantee of Spanish-speaking health care workers and volunteers brought him here.

“I didn’t think this would be so easy and simple,” he explained.

The Hispanic Health Council of Jacksonville partnered with Walgreens, among other groups, to secure 300 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses for this two-day event.

Between Saturday and Sunday, volunteers and health care workers donated 11 hours of their time to get folks to come out to the church, and get as many people vaccinated as possible.

Volunteers like Christian Tirado, who is doing what he can to get folks through the door.

“I am not the government,” Tirado said in Spanish. “I am another Latino like them. I know what is best for them.”

He wants to spare families the heartache of dealing with COVID-19, especially when there are doses available.

“I am so happy that we have this opportunity because it grants access to those who don’t have it,” he added.

There to help guide folks once through the door are health care workers like Dr. Jose Rivas.

“For me it is very important to serve any patient or population, but when it comes to Hispanic people, I know what the barriers are and what the obstacles are so it’s my pleasure to be able to give them a hand,” Rivas explained in Spanish.

>> More information on the COVID-19 vaccine

Bautista is grateful for these efforts to protect him and our Spanish-speaking community.

“To this church, to the people who have collaborated and everyone who’s helped, thank you very much!” he said.