JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The National Guard is sending airmen from the 125th Fighter Wing to assist with COVID-19 vaccinations at Jacksonville’s only state run-site.
Sixty airmen will help vaccinate those eligible to get the shot at Regency Square Mall. More than 7,000 vaccines were administered at the site in the first seven days.
“As we’ve seen since last year, our airmen are poised and ready to react at a moment’s notice,” said Col. Matthew French, 125th Fighter Wing commander. “We are proud to continue the fight against this virus as the state looks to use all its available resources to distribute vaccines and expand testing capacity.”
Since March 2020, the National Guard said, more than 2,300 Florida National Guardsmen have been on duty to support the state’s COVID-19 response at community-based testing sites, assisted living facilities, airports and food banks. They’ve provided a variety of support, including testing, screening, food distribution and traffic control support.
About half of those coming to the Regency site on Monday have previously worked other COVID-19 missions in 2020, among them U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jacob Hancock, 125th FW public affairs specialist, who was previously providing traffic control support in Orange County.
“The opportunity to serve our citizens is the very reason that I chose to enlist in the Florida National Guard. I am happy that I have another chance to serve our community by being on the frontlines, fighting against this virus,” said Hancock. “We are here to help and, as citizen airmen, we want to ensure that our communities stay healthy and guarded against this virus any way that we’re able to.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that Florida received about 260,000 first doses per week for the past several weeks. He said next week, the state expects to receive 307,000 first doses from the federal government.
DeSantis said Florida has launched a statewide pre-registration system to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments for those age 65 and older and health care workers. For those without internet, you can still call 866-200-3762 to make an appointment at Regency.
Regency opens at 9 a.m. and will vaccinate those 65 and up and health care workers until 5 p.m. The site operates seven days a week.