Pictured Above: Pastor Ted Traylor and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
PENSACOLA— Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola has become the site of life-sustaining hope for thousands of the most vulnerable in its community to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in the next week.
Pastor Ted Traylor said the church has administered Moderna vaccines for 1,000 of its senior adult neighbors on Jan. 6; and is expecting to give 750 vaccines today (Jan. 7) and again Jan. 11.
On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Olive to highlight the strategy to use churches to provide access more quickly to the potentially life-saving vaccines. Olive is the first church to provide vaccinations in Escambia County.
“You have a great partnership in the community on display here,” DeSantis said, as reported in the Orlando Sentinel, saying that Ascension Sacred Heart hospital in Pensacola was providing the shots, but the church was providing volunteers to help organize the site.
“When you have community leaders stepping out showing that they’re doing it–a pastor, someone that people trust–I think that does make a positive difference,” DeSantis said.
In an interview with Pensacola’s Channel 3 WEAR News, Traylor said he was approached by the hospital to host the vaccine clinic several weeks ago. The decision to do so was made immediately.
“Without doubt we are going to serve the community. We love our Lord, and we love our community and love the people in it; and are glad to be that servant in a place that’s been good to us and we can use for service to others,” Traylor said.
“We are to show love to all men, so we think this is one of the ways serving as our Lord did in the healing ministry. Hospitals do it, churches do it; we feel like we should be a part of that as well,” said Traylor.
According to Jacob Fischer, director of Ascension’s Physician Practice Operations, Olive is well known within the community for helping others in need, noting the church’s involvement after Hurricane Sally, help in the beginning of the pandemic and food drives.
“Time and time again, Pastor Traylor has had a desire to help the community any way he could.”
Traylor said Olive will continue holding the clinic as long as needed.
“Our team has been remarkable! So proud of them.”