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Seniors receiving COVID-19 vaccine at Jacksonville church want answers about second dose

A woman and her husband who were vaccinated at a Jacksonville church on Jan. 10 are now concerned where they will received their second dose.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — St. Matthew Baptist Church, which is in the heart of Jacksonville's Black community, is one of seven churches statewide that partner with Governor Ron DeSantis and the State of Florida to get the COVID-19 vaccine in as many arms as possible.

Governor DeSantis described his reach to religious centers as part of an effort to bring the vaccine to places people trust.

"We were very happy to go there because we had been working to see how we could get our first vaccine," said Karen Rieley, who received her vaccine on Jan. 10 at St. Matthew with her husband Wayne.

However, she later found out getting her second dose of the vaccine would not be as easy.

"I went well but the nurse that gave us our shot said this would not be the location for our second vaccine," Rieley recalled.

Wayne Rieley has underlying health concerns. Even so, they left feeling safe, secured, yet uncertain. Now that the time for the second dose is approaching that uncertainty has turned into anxiety.

"We've been waiting to be called back for a location and time for the second vaccine which is supposed to be this Sunday," said Rieley.

She said for a few days they have reached out to various agencies she believed would have the answers to her situation.

"I've called the city and the Department of Health and neither of them knew anything," said Rieley. "We're anxious because my husband is immune compromised, and we have tried to get us both vaccinated so he can stay safe."

On Your Side checked with the Duval Department of Health, a spokesperson said they did not have an answer.  Samantha Epstein wrote:

This initiative was actually set up by the state and not our local incident management team. So, unfortunately, I do not have any further details that can help out these viewers

Rieley wants to know why the communication is so poor as to when and where they will get their second dose of the covid-19 vaccine.

"I am just eager for us to get some news about the next step," Rieley said.

Apparently the initiative is being coordinated through the Florida Department of Emergency Management. On Your Side is still waiting on a response.

"It feels like it is a communication issue," said Rieley.

On Your Side reached out to the church and spoke with Pastor George Price.

"We gave out 540 doses with no incident, and there should be no confusion about the second dose," said Price.

The reverend said he was told the second does will be administered and those who was given the first does will be contacted.

"They will get a call this week telling them what time to come on Sunday," said Price. "It will be a robo call." 

The pastor said it went well the first time, and he anticipates it will go well on February 7.

"We will begin vaccinations starting at 10 a.m.," Price explained.

Credit: First Coast News

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