COVID-19 vaccine pop-up sites this Saturday, April 10

James B. Sanderlin Family Center and St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church will host pop-up vaccination sites tomorrow.

Deirdre O’Leary, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — While there is talk about hesitancy with the COVID-19 vaccine in the African- American community, the larger issue seems to be access to accurate information rather than resistance. High-speed internet continues to be out of reach for many. Without it, it is difficult or impossible to sign up for vaccines online.

The Carter G. Woodson African American Museum held a virtual information session on April 7 with answers to the public’s questions.

Andrea Peaton of the Florida Department of Health and her team are going into the community to ensure everyone has a fighting chance against the pandemic.

The Health Equity Team is organizing large groups to meet their goal of giving 1,000 vaccinations per week.  Bethel AME Church was the first to host a vaccine site. Smaller churches are welcome to bring members to larger sites to get a shot.  Peaton requires at least 250 vaccinations to set up a vaccine event in the community.

Since there are only four people on the team, Peaton is reaching out to groups that can provide volunteers to help out and large groups of people who need vaccinations.

The health department is also providing COVID-19 vaccines to homebound residents who cannot get to a doctor or clinic.  Those appointments begin at 3 p.m. and go into the evening.  The team currently has three nurses for home visits and is looking to expand to three or four more. Call Lynn Johnson of Community Tech House at 727-253-8445 to request a home visit.

COVID-19 vaccinations are given free of charge.  If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you can get the vaccination 10 days following your positive test.  There are three types currently approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for emergency use.

Two of them require two shots. After the second shot, it takes two weeks for the vaccine to reach maximum effectiveness. Here is a summary of what is available and how they work:

Name                                Percent effective             Shots required                  Weeks between shots

Pfizer                                        95%                                 Two                                       Three

Moderna                                  95%                                 Two                                        Four

Johnson & Johnson                82%                                 One                                       N/A

Common questions and answers about the COVID-19 vaccines:

Why were the vaccines not approved by the FDA?

Normally, it takes five to eight years of testing to approve a vaccine. Since this was an emergency situation, the FDA issued an emergency approval.  The vaccines fulfilled a minimal standard to show there was no danger from taking them. Initially, 120 companies tried to provide vaccines; only a handful made it through the testing process.

If you have already had COVID-19, are you immune?

Not necessarily. You will only have antibodies for three months after you are sick.

How long will the vaccine work for?

Doctors and scientists are still working on the answer to this. According to their data, the Centers for Disease Control knows the vaccine is good for six months. The Health Department is still studying how often to get the vaccine, whether annually, once in a lifetime, or whether you may need a booster in five years.

Can I skip the second shot and be safe?

No. Even two weeks after getting both shots, you are 95 percent covered, leaving a five percent chance of getting COVID. So precautions are still recommended, wear a mask, physically distance, wash, and your hands frequently.  Be especially careful during the period between shots and before the two- week-follow up period is over.

Upcoming COVID-19 vaccine pop-up sites this Saturday, April 10:

James B. Sanderlin Family Center — From 10-3 p.m., James B. Sanderlin Family Center will have 350 Pfizer vaccinations available.  Pre-registration is recommended; call 727-321-9444.  The center is located at 2335 22nd Ave S, St Petersburg.

St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church – From 9-4 p.m., St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church is located at 1301 37th St. S, St Petersburg.  Call the church at 727-321-6631 to secure your appointment.

For questions about whether you should get the vaccine, it is recommended to ask your doctor.

To bring your group to volunteer, or if you know of a large group that can be vaccinated, contact Andrea Peaton at Andrea.Peaten@FLhealth.gov or 727-824-6998.

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