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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Leftover Vaccines May Increase With More Shipments Arriving Next Week

Cars line up outside the federally-run vaccination site, the Tampa Greyhound Track on March 5.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF
Cars line up outside the federally-run vaccination site, the Tampa Greyhound Track on March 5.

Florida has expanded its COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and distribution, but there’s uncertainty if all the vaccines will be used.

A large supply of COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government is expected to arrive in Florida next week.

It comes at the same time vaccine eligibility will be extended to those 18 and older, as well as teens who have parental consent.

However, there is a question as to whether the increased availability will be taken advantage of.

Vaccine demand has dropped over the past few weeks at both federally-run sites like the Tampa Greyhound Track and state-operated ones like Raymond James Stadium.

“Only the federally supported sites in Miami are using all of their 3,000 first dose allotments per day,” said Samantha Bequer, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Emergency Management.

Tampa Greyhound Track distributed about 2,000 of its 3,000 first doses on Tuesday.

At the federally supported site in Jacksonville Tuesday, it was even worse: the site gave out under 1,300 of its first doses.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say Florida is expected to receive 817,250 first doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines next week.

That is 20% more than what the state received this week and about 45% more than March’s average weekly distribution.

The CDC recorded the first dose of vaccines distributed from the federal government over six weeks in Florida:

  • Week of March 1 - 622,950
  • Week of March 8 - 470,080
  • Week of March 15 - 514,070
  • Week of March 22 - 518,750
  • Week of March 29 - 683,087
  • Week of April 5 - 817,250

Despite appointments no longer being necessary at the state-run sites and little to no wait time, some people may not be getting the vaccine because of fear.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management is addressing this issue by sending an outreach team to educate residents of the latest COVID-19 vaccine information, as well as administer shots.

As of 12:05 a.m. Thursday, 5,979,461 people have been vaccinated in Florida: 2,580,605 have received their first dose, 3,398,856 have completed the series. That means they’ve either received both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer shots, or the single Johnson & Johnson shot.

Copyright 2021 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Christina Loizou