Many Government-Run Vaccination Sites In Florida Are Shutting Down
Some have already administered their last shots. Most of the remaining state and county facilities are slated to close in the next few weeks.
Even though only about 45 percent of Florida’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, demand for the shots has been decreasing.
In response, mass vaccination sites are shutting down and vaccine supplies are shifting to pharmacies and targeted locations like schools and churches.
Florida’s federally supported vaccination sites in Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville are scheduled to close Wednesday.
State- and county-run locations have also been closing or have plans to do so.
In Tampa, Raymond James Stadium and the Children’s Board locations stopped administering first doses of the Pfizer vaccine this past Friday to prepare to shut down at the end of July. The location at Port Tampa Bay will end first doses of Pfizer on May 30.
Hillsborough County has already closed its vaccination sites at the Ed Radice Sports Complex, the Larry Sanders Sports Complex, the Vance Vogel Sports Complex, and the Plant City Stadium.
“Over the last couple weeks, we've seen a steep decrease in the number of vaccines that have been requested through the county,” said Earl Brown, deputy operations chief for Hillsborough County Emergency Management. “The reason why we've pulled back a little bit is that the demand is significantly less.”
The county consolidated its public vaccine operation into a single location at the Palm River Community Center. It is administering both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, but plans to stop providing first doses June 4 to prepare for shutdown.
While the driving force behind these shutdowns is a lack of demand, Brown said the private sector plays a role.
“Those local providers and local pharmacies have actually surpassed the local government, state and federal — the number of vaccines that they're providing per day is surpassing us,” Brown said. “So we're at that point now where we're starting to back off our needs and requirements.”
As mass vaccination sites close, local and state officials are putting more focus on efforts to target people who have not gotten the vaccine either due to reluctance or lack of access.
In Hillsborough, that means offering shots at mobile vaccination sites.
“We're still providing those mobile resources that are going to be going around to schools and to churches,” Brown said. “All those targeted vaccinations will allow us to continue to provide this service to the community”
To learn more about where to get vaccinated, visit https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator/ .
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