Church in Azalea Park received 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine – February, 17 – 2021

“We wanted to reach people where they go, and we wanted to give people equitable access,” Rodríguez said.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The priest of a church in Azalea Park said his church received 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and he wanted to help the Latino community have access.

Father José Rodríguez, the priest of Iglesia Episcopal Jesus de Nazaret, said his church decided to sign people up the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper, putting signup sheets at Sedanos and Bravo supermarkets in Azalea Park. He said this approach provides equal access to everyone, adding that not every person in the Latino community has access to technology. “We know from market research that Latinos in this market are less likely to have a computer at home,” Rodriguez said.

The priest said it’s been rewarding to help connect the Latino community with the vaccine. Working with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, his church will be a vaccination site Saturday, Feb. 20, for those 65 and older who were able to sign up for the appointments. State Rep Carlos Guillermo Smith said the goal was to make sure the Latino community has access to the vaccine but also that there is equity.

“Father José Rodríguez really wanted to make sure that the vaccines that we were able to provide for the Hispanic community we’re not based solely on membership to his church or congregation, but that we had a more equitable way of making sure that ordinary folks, who have been left behind, not able to access the vaccine, had an equal chance of booking an appointment,” Smith said.