JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 140 community members on Thursday got a COVID-19 shot at a clinic in honor of community activist and UF Health Jacksonville CEO Dr. Leon Haley Jr.
Haley died July 24 in a tragic WaveRunner accident in Palm Beach County.
Haley, a leader in the area’s fight against COVID-19, was the first in Jacksonville to receive the vaccine and got his shot publicly to demonstrate his belief in its safety and effectiveness.
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, JEA hosted a free community vaccination clinic on Ashley Street between Laura and Main streets in honor of Haley, who served on the utility’s board.
“Dr. Haley was a healthcare champion and promoted COVID vaccines throughout the community. So, we thought the best way to honor him was to continue his mission by offering a venue for people to come out and get vaccination,” said JEA spokesperson Karen McAllister.
Residents ages 12 and up were able to go to JEA’s downtown headquarters and get a free vaccination. In all, 143 Jacksonville residents were vaccinated.
A little before 9 a.m., people were already lined up to be vaccinated. Appointments are not necessary and both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being offered.
JEA is putting the clinic with two of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s Wellness on Wheels buses in partnership with Agape Family Health.
Two people waiting in line Thursday said coming to the walk-up clinic was easier than registering online for a vaccine.
“It’s wonderful because I’ve tried to get the vaccine, but I couldn’t get it because you have to sign up online, and I don’t have a telephone, so I can’t,” Lisa Miller Bant Jackson said. “So this is great.”
Jonathan Crowe also praised the ease of getting the shot at the clinic.
“Meanwhile you just show up and within 10 minutes, I’m already getting the dose,” Crowe said. “You can’t get much better than that.”
Those receiving a vaccine requiring two doses can come back to the same location in three weeks for their second shot. JEA plans to continue the clinic rain or shine until 6 p.m.
The clinic took place as coronavirus cases surge across Florida. In fact, just last week Duval County reported more than 8,000 cases. For Crowe, getting vaccinated means keeping his family safe.
“My grandmother is 87 years old, and if I was to get it and give it to her, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself, or I’d feel regret,” Crowe said. “So, it’d be best for me to just to not be part of the problem and be more of the solution.”
Impact Church on Arlington Expressway will also hold a vaccine event in Haley’s honor from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. No registration is required and the event is open to anyone 12 and up with a valid state ID. Pfizer vaccines will be offered.