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First Coast

Florida Black Expo To Offer Vaccines Sunday, Postpone Annual Convention

People gather outside a bus marked "Wellness on Wheels"
Jacksonville Transportation Authority
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The Florida Black Expo, an annual event celebrating black-owned businesses on the First Coast, is being postponed from this month to October because of the rise in coronavirus cases. 

Instead, event organizers are hosting a vaccine clinic in Jacksonville’ Urban Core this weekend, in collaboration with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Agape Family Health and Florida Blue. 

The Florida Black Expo has been taking place annually in Jacksonville for 17 years, with the exception of last year, when it was cancelled because of the coronavirus. It attracts as many as 10,000 attendees and 300 exhibitors, and includes special events like cooking competitions and a “Top 20 Under 40” of “Black and Brilliant individuals.” 

Less than 25 percent of African Americans in Florida have received one COVID-19 shot, and even fewer are fully vaccinated, according to data analysis by USAFacts, a project of Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania. That’s as local hospitals have been filling with increasingly young COVID patients including children. 

“With numbers so alarming, we were at risk of being a superspreader,” Pollock said. “Our pillars are about health and wealth, so we knew that we needed to not only postpone the event so preferably we can get a handle on this, but we needed to be part of the solution. And part of the solution is getting more and more people vaccinated.” 

Pollock said the goal is to vaccinate at least 100 people. Additional health services will be available, and Florida Blue is offering giveaways and prizes to keep things fun. 

The vaccination event will be this Sunday, Aug. 15, from noon to 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the Beaver Street Enterprise Center, 1225 W. Beaver St.

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.