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Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist pushes vaccines in Jacksonville

The former governor toured the Wellness on Wheels buses run by Agape Health and JTA Thursday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — We know about 'get out the vote' but how about 'get out the vaccine?'

That's a slogan from Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current St. Petersburg Congressman Charlie Crist.

The former governor, then a Republican and now a Democrat, toured the Wellness on Wheels buses run by Agape Health and JTA Thursday. He's making a big push for the vaccine.

Crist is requiring his campaign staff to be vaccinated and calls on the governor to require government employees to do the same.

Accompanied by Sen. Audrey Gibson, Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis, Agape Family Health CEO Mia Jones and JEA CEO Jay Stowe, Crist said his main message is about combating COVID-19 by pushing for vaccinations and mask wearing.

"It saves your life," said Crist. "I mean what's more important than that? And what we're seeing in our schools is disgraceful because kids are really getting sick and they're dying and it breaks my heart. We talked about that, about how we need to do better. We need to get the right message out there and make people understand this is not complicated. Get the vaccine, wear a mask."

RELATED: Fletcher Middle School moving to online instruction due to COVID-19 cases, close contacts

Crist accused Gov. Ron DeSantis of not caring about Floridians' lives.

"I listen to the people and I see what's in their eyes," he said. "I know they want a governor who really cares about them instead of their political future. That's exactly what DeSantis is doing. He's running for president and he's forgetting Floridians."

First Coast News spoke with Vernice Jones, who was the first person in line to get the vaccine Thursday morning. She also talked with Crist.

Jones says she finally decided to get vaccinated because "the numbers don't lie" and it's what she's willing to try to keep her daughter safe.

The Wellness on Wheels buses are close to vaccinating 10,000 people since March. The vaccination event Thursday was to honor late UF Health CEO Dr. Leon Haley, who died in a jet ski accident last month.

See the schedule for Wellness on Wheels here.

RELATED: JEA hosting 2nd COVID-19 vaccination clinic in honor of late Dr. Leon Haley