Pensacola church offers hope through COVID-19 vaccines


January 16, 2021

A clinic at Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola, Florida, is distributing vaccines to the most vulnerable in its community. (flbaptist.org)

By Barbara Denman
Florida Baptist Witness

Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida, 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 administered Moderna vaccines for 1,000 of its senior adult neighbors Jan. 6 and gave another 750 vaccines Jan. 7 and again Jan. 11.

On Jan. 6, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Olive Baptist 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.

Making a difference

“When you have community leaders stepping out and showing that they’re    doing it — a pastor, someone who 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, 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 [people], 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. I am so proud of them.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was originally published by the Florida Baptist Witness. To read more articles like this on Florida Baptists, visit flbaptist.org/witness. This article also appears in TAB News, a digital regional Baptist publication. For more information or to subscribe to the TAB News app, visit tabonline.org/TAB-News-app.


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