Lawson Center to be vaccination site

The Lawson Center is going to become a vaccination site. Photo by Chloe Moody

Florida A&M President Larry Robinson recently announced that the university will host a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Lawson Center that will be accessible to the community starting sometime this week.

The site will be operated by the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health. It will be able to administer up to 200 vaccines daily to people who are eligible. University and state officials said plans are being finalized and the kickoff date will be announced within the next few days.

FAMU director of Student Health Services Tanya Tatum said in the release that the goal for this site is to branch out to African Americans and other people of color.

“We want to reach out to the community, which has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” Tatum said. “Right now, we have many Black and Hispanic individuals who have not had the vaccine.”

Many older residents do not have access to computers or the Internet to register for COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Tatum says they plan to work with community partners to help underserved people get vaccinated.

“This is a targeted outreach,” Tatum said. “This is how we’re going to start reaching the underserved.”

FAMU has hosted a COVID-19 testing site for the community since April 25,  administering nearly 250,000 tests to date. Because FAMU enjoys a position of trust in the community, Robinson said hosting a vaccination site on campus makes sense.

“We will be working to target a demographic that has been underrepresented because of a lack of access and lack of trust regarding the vaccine,” Robinson said. “The FAMU site will help remedy these problems.”

Robinson was among FAMU’s eligible employees and students to receive the first dose at the university’s Student Health Center in January. He is scheduled to receive the second dose this week.

“I want to set an example for others,” Robinson said. “Let’s hope that by doing this, I can convince a few more people to come and get vaccinated.”

Tallahassee resident Clara Gaymon received both doses of the Moderna vaccine at Bond Community Clinic. She applauds FAMU for opening a community-based COVID-19 vaccination site.

“That will be great for a lot of people that live in the area and don’t have transportation to get elsewhere,” Gaymon said. “It looks like it’s so hard to get scheduled at other places, so I think this is a good idea.”