Immokalee community members get COVID-19 vaccine, a sign of hope for many

Hundreds of people living in an underserved Southwest Florida community received the coronavirus vaccine.

Florida Department of Health in Collier County, with help from other organizations, vaccinated people for COVID-19 in Immokalee Tuesday.

Walking her 86-year-old mother back home after getting the vaccine, Rosa Maria Pulido finally had some peace of mind.

”We didn’t know when they were going to start doing it here in Immokalee, so they call us, my mom,” Pulido said.

For months, Pulido has stayed by her mother’s side since the pandemic hit their community.

“Too many people in Immokalee not with us anymore,” Pulido said. “In our family, two of our members of our family get it. We’re lucky.”

DOH-Collier made sure the day’s vaccination location served the people of Immokalee first.

Doctors in Immokalee called their patients and made appointments for them. Healthcare Network and other organizations gave Immokalee community members those much-needed shots.

“The first part of vaccination is trust,” said Trey Fletcher with Healthcare Network. “We are asking folks to take on a process that not everyone has information about yet.”

Cheryl Thomas didn’t need to be convinced. She knows the virus kills.

“The pandemic has affected my family,” Thomas said. “My brother, who lives in North Carolina, died in April from the virus and other complications.”

Thomas was among the 500 people who got the vaccine. She called Tuesday a sign of hope.

“It is a better system than it started off to be, and I’m sure each week when you do it, you’ll get better and better with it,” Thomas said.

Pulido agrees. She’s grateful someone somewhere remembered people like her mom.

“She has diabetes, high blood pressure and little problems with her heart, but she’s still here, and hopefully we have her for many more years,” Pulido said.

The State has not announced a plan to vaccinate farmworkers at this time, which remains a big concern in Immokalee because many live in the community. Healthcare Network says it plans to distribute more vaccines when it gets more supply.

RESOURCE: WINK News is working by the minute on a daily basis to bring our coverage areas in Southwest Florida the latest COVID-19 vaccine information from the counties you live in.

Visit our COVID-19 vaccine schedules and information for SWFL story for rolling vaccine updates.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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