AVENTURA, FLA. (WSVN) - - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made a stop in South Florida to witness an interfaith initiative to distribute more COVID-19 vaccines.
Mosques, churches and a local synagogue came together to do their part to stop the spread of the virus.
“Listen, I got a shot! I was so happy,” Elaine Multer said. “It’s wonderful. It’s absolutely wonderful that this temple — they didn’t have to do it.”
Since the very beginning of the pandemic, using religious institutions as a means of getting the vaccine to the public has been a mission in South Florida.
DeSantis visited Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center & Tauber Academy to meet with religious leaders and to observe the distribution of vaccines.
“We are so much more similar than we are different,” Pastor Michael Anderson, of New Jerusalem Baptist Church, said. “The formula is simple: people above politics, and we’ll bring this pandemic to its knees.”
“We have the feeling that we are just one human being, especially when we are facing a challenge like this,” Imam Abdul Hamid Samra, of the Islamic Center of Greater Miami, said.
The governor mentioned that there could be a lot of changes coming in the next week when it comes to vaccine distribution.
“We’re looking at expanding Hard Rock,” DeSantis said. “We’ll maybe have an announcement on that next week.”
On Thursday, Johnson & Johnson, the company behind the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, applied for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. The vaccine can be stored in much warmer locations than the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
The governor also said that even though members at the White House said all first doses of the vaccine should go out, the numbers don’t support that, especially because people are now going for their second doses of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is preparing to ship vaccines directly to pharmacies.
DeSantis also mentioned that the National Pharmacy Program that the White House announced earlier this week will be working with Winn Dixie, Publix Pharmacies, Walmart and other locations as they try to get more vaccines to South Florida.
“I think from Florida City all the way up to Aventura, there’s a Walmart pretty close in most parts of the county,” DeSantis said.
He also said the program will not take away from the state supply.
Some people who went to get the vaccine said seeing so many religious leaders coming together for this common goal was very moving.
“I don’t think you’re even going to have the liberty to do that, because I think there’s just going to be so many people that are scheduled for their second doses that you’re not going to be able to wait a full week to be able to hope that you get more second doses,” said DeSantis.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Elizabeth Baldacci. “I think it really is wonderful. I noticed that too, I noticed a lot of ladies with headdresses, and it made me feel good.”
The rabbi said they have about 500 doses to be administered on Thursday.
“This was affecting every human being equally, and that it may inspire us to set aside our differences and to tackle this new normal together,” Rabbi Jonathan Berken said.
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