FAMU COVID-19 Testing & Vaccination Site Closing

April 28, 2023
FAMU COVID-19 Testing & Vaccination
FAMU COVID-19 Testing & Vaccination Site Closing

Three years and three days after it opened to accommodate the demand for testing in Tallahassee, the Florida A&M University (FAMU) COVID-19 testing site is closing. The closure comes before the Federal Public Health Emergency ends on May 11.

The site, which began as a two-week initial effort at Bragg Memorial Stadium to provide testing for residents of Tallahassee’s south side and other under-served areas and was later combined with a vaccination site, is being decommissioned and will be closed Friday afternoon, said Tanya Tatum, director of FAMU Student Health Services.

The staff has completed more than 694,000 tests for men, women, and children who traveled from far as Alabama and South Georgia to acquire the free, no-referral required tests. Almost 30,000 vaccinations have been administered.

FAMU COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination SiteThe FAMU COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Site on Wahnish Way.

FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., said the site’s efficient operation during the unprecedented crisis cemented an unbreakable bond between the University and the broader Tallahassee/Leon County community.

“The FAMU COVID-19 testing and vaccination site represents one of our best examples of collaboration and service,” Robinson said. “We thank local, state, and federal governmental agencies, local hospitals and clinics, places of worship, private businesses, community leaders, and our faculty, staff, students, and alumni who came together to make this tremendous resource available to our community during even the darkest days of the pandemic. It exemplifies what we mean by ‘Excellence with Caring.’” 

The testing site first opened on April 25, 2020, with long lines of people coming from South Florida, Alabama, and Georgia to get tested. Back then, before the introduction of rapid testing, visitors to the site had to wait days for their results since specimens were flown elsewhere for testing.

Members of the Florida National Guard, deployed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management, played a crucial role in running the site during the early months of the pandemic. The Leon County Health Department, the Florida Department of Health, and the Bond Community Health Center were also important partners early in the initiative. Nomi Health, a direct healthcare company offering COVID-19 public testing and vaccine programs in several states, has been the vendor to handle the testing since May 2021.

Tatum and Cynthia Harris, Ph.D., director of the FAMU Public Health Institute and associate dean in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health, were among those charged by President Robinson with setting up and running the site.

Tanya TatumTanya Tatum was recognized for her role at the FAMU COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Site.

“FAMU is very proud to have been able to support the surrounding communities as we responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. This week was the third anniversary of the opening of the COVID-19 testing site,” Tatum said. “Thanks to the extraordinary efforts from the University and our many community partners, we were able to provide almost 700,000 COVID-19 tests and 28,000 vaccinations.  I believe that our work has helped to save lives throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our COVID-19 testing site is closing today, so thank you again to everyone who has supported us.”     

FAMU began offering vaccinations at the Al Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center in February 2021,then relocated to a building on Ardelia Court before being combined with the testing site on a vacant field on Wahnish Way, near the FAMU DRS campus.

With the closure of the site and the end of the Federal Public Health Emergency in three weeks, Tatum said those needing tests should visit their local pharmacy or call their doctor.