MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Melissa Williams’ church in Miami Gardens is a COVID-19 vaccine site, and she underlines the importance of that.
“We know that it is said that the people of color — I’m talking about all people — are not getting the shots. And we want to make it more convenient. We want it to be right here in our neighborhood,” said Williams, of Pratt Memorial Holy Spirit Christian Church, which is offering Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson shots.
To date in Florida, nearly 7 million white people have been vaccinated, compared to just under 750,000 Black people. It’s a huge disparity even now with the vaccine widely available.
On Thursday, Local 10 News tried to talk with those coming to the church to get the vaccine but very few actually showed up.
Williams remains hopeful that having the vaccines available in communities of color will help, but she says something unexpected has been happening. People from other countries are coming to her church get the vaccine.
“They came here and they had just come into the country, and they said that they went on the site, the CDC, and we were listed,” she said.
President Joe Biden is rolling out “Shots at the Shop,” a way his administration hopes to get the vaccine into the Black community through barbershops and hair salons.
“I definitely think that this is something that could work,” said Ruth Pina, a hairstylist at Salon Dahlia. “This is an environment that people of color feel welcome at, safe at.”
Along those lines, incentives such as free childcare and free beer are also be offered to those that get the vaccine. It comes as the president sets a goal of 70% of American adults vaccinated by July 4.
“Even if you don’t believe in getting the vaccine, do it for others,” Williams said.
She said the vaccines will be available at Pratt Memorial Holy Spirit Christian Church (1908 NW 183rd St.) for the last time Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.