The Jacksonville NAACP president wrote a letter to the mayor outlining considerations in regards to the introduction of vaccines
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The NAACP Jacksonville branch sent a letter to Mayor Lenny Curry outlining the concerns of the civil rights group regarding the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
Isaiah Rumlin, president of the NAACP Jacksonville office, wrote in the Jan. 22 letter that the group is not confident that the city will introduce vaccines to the African American community.
In the letter, also signed by the Presidents of the Jacksonville Urban League, the Northeast Florida Medical Society Foundation, and the First Coast Black Nurses Association, Rumlin calls on the city to come up with a comprehensive plan.
Rumlin writes that these groups and other community leaders were not involved in any vaccination planning for the African American community.
“We didn’t see a plan from the mayor’s office, definitely not from the state either. I haven’t seen a plan for the vaccine to be distributed, ”said Dr. Rogers Cain, member of the NAACP Health Board, told News4Jax. “We do not intend to involve the minority community in order to serve them where they live.”
The letter contains several inquiries, including:
A specific person who delivers news from the health department and town about vaccinations to the community.
A local decision-making body made up of public and community leaders to prioritize vaccine distribution.
Expand the number of vaccination and testing sites to make sure the color communities in the city are adequately covered. Specifically, the letter requires that the location list include retirement homes in Zone 1 (including downtown, Springfield, and Eastside), Zone 2 (including Arlington), Zone 5 (including Northside), and TIAA Bank Fied.
Expand contact tracking and other strategies to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
READ: Letter to the NAACP Mayor of Jacksonville Branch
Cain also said he is encouraging people in African Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He said it is safe and will help slow the spread of the virus.
The mayor’s office issued the following reply to the letter on Monday that the letter contained inaccuracies:
“While the City of Jacksonville does not control the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain, we would like to point out the many inaccuracies (incorrect information) in this letter.
“The City of Jacksonville has the ability to deliver mass vaccination, as we’ve demonstrated at our numerous COVID-19 test sites across the city. We were instrumental in bringing one of the first test locations online at TIAA Bank Field, Legends Center, and several other locations across town. In addition, we have conducted tests in the zones mentioned in this letter. This included schools, churches, health centers, and more. (A few examples, First Coast HS, Frank H. Peterson Academy, and Regency Square Mall before it became a state location.)
“While we are ready to reopen the two vaccination sites where we have safely and successfully distributed our vaccine allocation over a ten-day period, we have also informed the Emergency Management Department that we are ready and able to open additional posts as more vaccines become available. At that point, the governor decided to distribute all vaccines through locations operated by the Emergency Management Department.
“This letter shows the lack of knowledge and information to make this process work. The federal government distributes the vaccine to states, which in turn decide how it should be distributed in their cities and counties. We recognize that more vaccines are critically needed in every community and when and when the state informs us that they are available, we are ready to distribute them. In the meantime, the state will distribute all vaccines through the Regency site. “
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