TAMPA, Fla. — Hillsborough County is plugging along with their Targeted Vaccine Area initiative, aimed at delivering COVID-19 vaccines to people 65 and older, a little closer to their communities.
The program is constantly expanding, and as of today, the county says they’ve identified more than a hundred site locations. They’ve already administered doses at 39 of them and they’ve given out more than 15,000 first doses and more than 5,000 second doses.
In just a few weeks, the Targeted Vaccine Area initiative is headed to New Saint Matthew Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa.
“Any kind of way we can help the community, especially with this pandemic, the COVID-19, we certainly wanted to take advantage of that,” said Pastor Alec Fitzgerald Hall, Senior Pastor at New Saint Matthew Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa.
So when a county official reached out to Pastor Hall asking if they could use the New Saint Matthew Missionary Baptist Church as a targeted vaccine area, the answer was a no-brainer.
“This is a spread out area, I wouldn’t necessarily say rural, but it is spread out, not as affluent as the other areas that may have ready access to the vaccination. Here going south down to Riverview, Ruskin, I think there’s a great need,” said Pastor Hall.
That’s one of the main goals with Hillsborough County’s TVA initiative, reaching to those in underserved communities and also finding areas with a high 65+ population.
“We’re looking to focus on locations like 55+ communities, senior apartment complexes, independent living facilities, faith-based organizations,” said Jay Rajyaguru, Emergency Management Coordinator with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.
The TVA initiative is organized by Hillsborough County Aging Services, the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County. TVAs make the vaccine available directly to large groups of pre-identified residents age 65 and older in places where they live and socialize.
You must pre-register at one of the TVA sites in order to receive a vaccination.
“Kind of give them a sweet spot number of about 600 is what we’re shooting for, some of them come in a little bit over, some of them come a little bit less,” said Rajyaguru.
Pastor Hall is still working to fill those 600 slots, and over the course of the next few weeks, the church will be reaching out to the people who register with a set date for the Targeted Vaccine Area at his church.
“We certainly want to push it out to any and all people that are in need of the vaccination, to come over here,” said Pastor Hall.
If you would like to sign up to get a vaccine at New Saint Matthew Missionary Baptist Church, email them at: email@example.com.
If you live in a community that you believe would be a good fit for the Targeted Vaccine Initiative, and your area has not yet been identified by Hillsborough County as a TVA, you can email the county at: firstname.lastname@example.org.