Northside church will transform into COVID-19 vaccination site to serve Black community

Coronavirus: Jacksonville pastor agrees to turn church into COVID-19 vaccine site

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

A Baptist church on the northside will turn into a COVID vaccine site this weekend.

The move comes to help increase access to the vaccine in minority communities.

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Pastor George Price from St. Matthew Baptist Church said he too will get the vaccine.

“Quite naturally we said yes we would make our facilities available,” said Price.

That was Pastor Price’s response when he got the call Wednesday morning from state officials asking to use his church to vaccinate people.

“There’s a disproportionate amount of people in our community that has been affected by COVID-19 so bringing it as close as we can to them, we felt would be a benefit,” said Price.

St. Matthew is located on 28th and Moncrief Road, in a predominantly Black community.

Pastor Price said members of his congregation have fallen ill to the virus and he knows of at least one death.

“According to the latest data by the department of Health, more than 193,000 white people have been vaccinated so far compared to just over 18,000 African-Americans.

Pastor Price said his church will have 500 doses available by appointment only.

The call for help in the minority community… was also the focus of a vaccine task force meeting Wednesday morning where faith leaders from Black churches spoke up.

“My friends this is a sense of urgency we feel that these vaccines are a gift,” said R.B. Holmes Jr., Pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist in Tallahassee,” said Holmes.

Holmes, who’s a Jacksonville native, called their efforts a “moral call” to save lives.

“This is a one voice, one vision, one movement to save precious lives,” he said.