Vaccine distribution to begin at 18 Jacksonville Walmart locations

VIDEO: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that 18 Walmart stores in Jacksonville will begin administering doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday announced that 18 Walmart stores in Jacksonville will begin administering doses of the COVID-19 vaccine starting Friday.

DeSantis, who was joined by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry at the Walmart Supercenter on Atlantic Boulevard, said there will be 119 Walmart stores across 34 Florida counties that will offer the COVID-19 vaccine for senior citizens.

Walmart stores in Baker County, Bradford County, Clay County and Columbia County will also offer the vaccine, according to the governor.

See all of the Florida Walmart and Sam’s Club locations offering vaccines in the document below:

Walmart will get about 25,000 doses of the vaccine for the first phase of the rollout through the federal pharmacy program, DeSantis said.

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“I think that they have a great plan, they’re spreading it pretty far and wide. And then as those doses increase from the federal government, they’ll be able to do more shots at each store without much of a problem,” DeSantis said.

MORE: Where, how to get COVID-19 vaccines in Northeast Florida

DeSantis said Monday the state expects to get 18,000 more doses of the vaccine added to its weekly shipment from the federal government, bringing its anticipated shipment to 325,000 doses.

Through a partnership with the state, pharmacies in Publix supermarkets have been offering vaccines for weeks, though not in Duval County. It’s a plan that has come under fire.

DeSantis said expanding vaccination efforts to Walmart stores across the state will help address some of the inequality issues raised by critics.

The federal pharmacy program will also get more doses to Publix stores across the state. Right now, there are 325 Publix pharmacies in 23 counties offering the vaccine.

RELATED: Publix pharmacies in 3 more Northeast Florida counties to begin scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations

Starting Friday, 18 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations will administer vaccine doses.

“Starting by the end of this week, [vaccines] will be in almost 600 Publix stores statewide across 41 counties and we already have them in Nassau and St Johns. There’ll be six Publix in Clay County, and they’ll also be one in Columbia County,” DeSantis said.

About 42% of all seniors in Duval County have received at least one vaccine shot, DeSantis said, which is better than the state average.

“We’re going to be able to add to those numbers and have a majority of seniors in no time,” he added.

The additional options for people to get vaccinated will be in close reach for those living in underserved Jacksonville communities. Dr. Sunil Joshi is the president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation.

Governor Ron DeSantis states Tuesday, 25 thousand doses of the vaccine will be given to Sam's Club and Wal-Mart locations.

“There tends to be more Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs in underserved areas so that’s huge,” he said. “What we hear all the time is that, yes, I do want to get the vaccine, but I’m having a hard time getting an appointment or having trouble getting to the location.”

RELATED: Winn-Dixie stores, including 4 in Jacksonville, to administer vaccine

Southeastern Grocers also said Tuesday it will begin administering coronavirus vaccines at 40 Winn-Dixie stores, including four in Duval County. It also includes the Harveys Supermarket on Market Street.

“I’m happy that they’re spreading it out, and I wish they would continue to put it in some of the lower income communities,” said Calvin Jones, who shops at Harveys.

UNCUT: Gov. Ron DeSantis announces vaccinations to begin at Walmart pharmacies

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Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.