Local Suncoast organizations sponsor two day COVID vaccine clinics

Newtown Vaccination Clinic
Newtown Vaccination Clinic(WWSB)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 12:10 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota County battles with an increased amount of COVID-19 cases, several local organizations such as the Sarasota County Democratic Party, Sarasota Democratic Black Caucus, Sarasota Democratic Hispanic Caucus and Build Local Power, which teamed up with organization Shots in Arms as they sponsored vaccine clinics over a course of two days on Aug 28 & 29 in conjunction with the Sarasota County Department of Health providing the Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, and the Moderna vaccines.

According to organizers the mission and vision of holding these clinics are to increase the vaccination rate among black and brown communities and other underserved populations.

Saturday kicked off the campaign as the first vaccination clinic was held at the Church of the Cross on Tuttle Ave. in Sarasota.

Since we are part of the community they know that this is what is going on,” said Pastor Fredy Gutierrez. “We’re very excited to be able to service the community, open our doors and open our hearts.”

Gutierrez said holding events like these are beneficial to the Latino community and hopes that he will be able to host events like these more often.

“I wish we could do this more often because this is reaching out to the ones that need help,” said Gutierrez

Help that according to Randy and Elliot Keyne reaches far and wide as they were both receiving their 3rd shot of the Moderna vaccine and said they both are in favor of events like this being held.

“The fact that it is being made available I strongly support that,” said Elliot and Randy Keyne. “Situations like this little center that are in the community are really helpful and are a positive and encouraging thing when you think of it.”

On Sunday, the clinic traveled to the Newtown area in Sarasota and hosted the second and last clinic at the Newtown-North Sarasota Redevelopment Office.

“We can only hope that it has a positive effect,” said Sarasota Democratic Black Caucus President Dee McFarland.

An effect on the African-American community that McFarland hopes will break stigmas around vaccinations, as she said they went out into the community spreading awareness and gauging the opinion of the community.

“We did a lot of promoting in the neighborhoods about this and got a lot of feedback about why they were hesitant about getting the shot,” said McFarland.

McFarland said the demographic of the clients they have seen have belonged to the younger age group, which she said has been a surprise.

“Surprisingly we are getting people now who are younger we are coming in to get their first dose we’re excited,” said McFarland.

The same excitement has also been shared by other organization leaders as well including JoAnne DeVries, who said she hopes these kinds of collaborations will happen more frequently.

“I am thrilled that we were able to collaborate with many other organizations,” said DeVries. “We are thrilled that we can get this two-day event hoping to plan many more hoping we can vaccines in the arms of everyone.”

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