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500 get vaccinated at Moncrief church Sunday only

St. Matthew Baptist Church is one of seven COVID-19 vaccination sites to open in underserved communities across Florida. The day did not start off without a hitch.
Credit: First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Seven COVID-19 vaccination sites open in underserved communities across Florida for Sunday only.

Five hundred people are getting the vaccine at St. Matthew Baptist Church in Moncrief Sunday, but the day did not start off without a hitch.

Many people standing in line were turned away and told they needed to have booked an appointment even though that was not what they claim to have been told before.

On Friday, the Florida Department of Health announced all appointments for the seven vaccination sites, which are mostly churches, were booked up. They said they were not talking walk-ins. Somewhere in the shuffle, that message got mixed up since the line outside St. Matthew was made up of people who thought it was first come, first serve.

"A lot of people don't have transportation like I don't to get in line," said Eric Wilson, who was in line with his walker before getting turned away. "I don't have nobody to take me way out on the other side of town. I was depending on it this morning."

According to a Department of Emergency Management spokesperson, this is the only day they will give 500 vaccines at St. Matthew Baptist Church. Those getting the vaccine here may get their second dose in a different place.

The spokesperson said they are working to expand, which is something many say needs to happen faster.

"They should open up more places," said Bernice Wright, who was standing in line but go turned away.

As more places open, officials say you need make sure you double check you have the right information. 

Walter Kimbrough is getting his vaccine Sunday.

"I don't go to church here but my wife went online and booked the appointment," Kimbrough said.

"How did you find out that you needed one?" First Coast News asked.

"Through television advertisement," he said. "First Coast, I listen to First Coast News quite a bit."

First come, first serve vaccinations start at Lane Wiley and Mandarin Senior Centers Monday. They are encouraging people to go on the day associated with their birth months. Learn more about it here.

RELATED: DOH: Duval Co. residents with weekend vaccination appointment must reschedule

County-by-County: Where people 65 and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine on the First Coast