Putnam County part of Florida’s pilot program to expand vaccines in rural areas

Federal vaccination sites expand eligibility to more groups

A new pilot program in Florida is aimed at increasing vaccines in rural counties in the state, including Putnam County.

The state is partnering with Health Hero Florida, an immunization provider, to implement the program in Putnam and several other counties, including Highlands, Glades, Levy, Dixie, and Gilchrist.

“Our mission remains clear: we are ensuring that every senior who wants a shot, gets a shot,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “Through this pilot program, we hope to significantly expand vaccine availability in underserved communities in our state’s most rural counties.”

DeSantis has been traveling around the state focusing efforts on increasing vaccinations for seniors in counties that are running behind the state average, which he said is nearing 60% statewide.

Beginning next week, Health Hero Florida will look to increase resources to any existing vaccine Points of Distribution that are not meeting demand. Additionally, Health Hero Florida will create pop-up vaccination sites at churches, schools, community centers and housing developments.

Once fully operational, the pilot program aims to increase vaccinations by 300-500 vaccines per day in each county.

DeSantis pointed out that the rural counties tend to be less populated so even a few hundred vaccines a day could make a noticeable difference very quickly.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.