JTA To Offer COVID-19 Vaccines on Repurposed City Buses

Mar 19, 2021

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority and Agape Family Health are making the coronavirus vaccine even more accessible by offering the shot on retrofitted city buses. The program is the first of its kind in Florida.

The city buses will stop at churches and community hubs and offer clean, safe environments for people to get the vaccine. Nurses with Agape will administer the shots. 

“We assembled a JTA vaccine distribution task force within the JTA to work on a daily basis, I mean long days and nights, to ensure our community has safe and reliable transportation to vaccination sites,” said JTA CEO Nat Ford. “But even with those tools, we see that there is still a gap for the most vulnerable members of our community. So that is why we partnered with Agape Family Health to launch Wellness on Wheels, bringing the COVID-19 vaccine directly to members of our community.” 

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Jacksonville’s vaccination campaign drew criticism in its early days for its failure to vaccinate people of color at the same rates as whites. To address that, city officials held a blitz vaccination event at the Clanzel T. Brown Community Center, which is in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Other sites at Edward Waters College, a historically Black institution, and at the Gateway Town Center have made the vaccines more accessible to all people. 

The Wellness on Wheels buses are scheduled to stop at The Potter’s House, Day Spring Church, Open Arms Church, First Timothy Church, ILA Longshoreman, Mt. Cavalry, and the Citadel Church over the coming weeks. 

Details of the times and locations are available on JTA’s Wellness on Wheels website

It is not clear how many doses of the vaccine will be available through the Wellness on Wheels program.

“The Agape-JTA Wellness on Wheels program is a win-win for the entire community, and we are excited to be a part of that,” said Agape Family Health CEO Mia Jones. “Our intent is to address health equity issues in our community.”

JTA is still offering bus rides directly to other vaccination sites, including at Edward Waters College and Gateway Town Center. 

According to the Florida Department of Health, 109,492 people in Duval County were fully vaccinated as of March 18. That’s approximately 11% of the population. 

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