Health centers getting millions in COVID stimulus

Task force administering cash grants to faith-based groups

Individuals can find a vaccine site by visiting the Leon County COVID-19
Information portal at http://cms.leoncountyfl.gov/covid-19/Vax-Map.

Leon County photo submitted
Congressman Al Lawson has announced that federal health centers in Jacksonville and Tallahassee will receive $21,152,500 million from the American Rescue Plan.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

Florida Department of Health and three other Federally Qualified Health Centers in Tallahassee will receive more than $15 million through the American Rescue Plan in an effort to getting vaccines into underserved communities.

At the same time, Leon County announced that it will provide grants up to $2,500 each to eligible faith-based organizations. The grants, which are intended to help decrease vaccine hesitancy, will be administered by the Statewide Coronavirus Vaccination Community Education and Engagement Taskforce.

The task force, which is made up of a cross-section of grassroots community and business leaders, was organized late last year with the goal of getting 60 percent or more of the Black community vaccinated by the end of this year. Former city commissioner Elaine Bryant, who serves as director of the task force, confirmed that grant application were due Thursday.

Meanwhile, six North Florida Community Health Centers that include two in Jacksonville, will receive a total of $21,152,500 million, according to a release from Congressman Al Washington office. A breakdown of the disbursement shows the Federal community health centers that will receive funds are:

 Agape Community Health Center in Jacksonville — $2,456,125

I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless, Inc. in Jacksonville — $2,904,375

Bond Community Health Center in Tallahassee — $2,672,000

Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee — $3,674,500

Neighborhood Medical Center in Tallahassee — $4,355,000

North Florida Medical Center in Tallahassee — $5,087,500

The money will help to expand the health centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units, according to the release.

“The pandemic has hit Floridians hard, and this crucial funding to our local health centers will help families across Florida’s fifth district,” Lawson said in the release. “The centers can use the funding to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment for vulnerable populations, as well as deliver preventive and primary health care services to people at higher risk for COVID-19. More help is on the way as we work to get more shots in arms and save more lives.”

Forty-seven health centers in Florida will receive $368,104,250 through the American Rescue Plan supports to fight the pandemic. 

The grant program announced by the Leon County government is intended to also help in eradicating COVID-19. Applications from faith-based organizations were to be completed last Monday, with April 15 set as the date for awarding the grants. 

The project is expected to be completed by June 1, according to a news release from Leon County government. The release also stated that more than 300 individual who were reluctant about taking the vaccine have been vaccinated through information they received from the task force.

The task force is also working with the Department of Health in Leon County in partnership with the Florida Department of Health, the Florida Division of Emergency Management. The task force is one of multiple public and private sector partners that are part of the push to vaccinate Leon County residents. 

As part of its updates announced last Thursday, Leon County Health Department said in a release that it has administered 21,665 vaccines through at 27 vaccination clinics.

The Department also announced that it started to administer the Pfizer vaccine to individuals 16 and older last Monday. Those individuals have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to be vaccinated. Persons 18 years of age or older would have the option of either the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Leon County Government has launched an online resource website to help residents locate vaccine sites. The site can be found by going to Leon 

County COVID-19 Information portal at http://cms.leoncountyfl.gov/covid-19/Vax-Map.


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