FEMA to open COVID-19 vaccination site at Gateway Mall next month

Site and moble vans could vaccinate up to 3,000 people each day

VIDEO: One of four federally-supported vaccination stations to open in Florida will be at Gateway Mall on Jacksonville’s Northside, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of four federally-supported vaccination stations to open in Florida next month will be at Gateway Mall on Jacksonville’s Northside, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday morning.

The sites in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa -- a partnership of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Defense, the National Gaurd and the state of Florida -- will open March 3, be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week and are capable of administering 2,000 does per day. Additionally, each site will have two smaller, mobile satellite sites that will conduct 500 vaccinations per day in underserved areas.

Through this hub and spoke model each group of one primary site and two satellite sites will offer 3,000 vaccinations per day.

The current public vaccination site in Jacksonville run by the Florida Department of Health at Regency Square is averaging 1,000 vaccinations each day.

The state will utilize the current preregistration system and work with local community organizations to proactively schedule appointments. To preregister with the statewide system, individuals can call the Duval County vaccine booking number -- 866-200-3762 -- or the designated phone number for their county or visit myvaccine.fl.gov.

It’s not yet known if the Gateway site will be inside the mall area that is currently vacant or if it will outside as a drive-thru or walk-up facility.

Residents of the area were pleased to hear there’ll be a vaccination site nearby.

“I think that is a great thing for the black community (and) white community,” Larry McKnight said.

“Especially for the older because we have a lot of older people in this area,” resident Alexis Slappey added.

So far, just over 2.6 million people in Florida have received at least one shot of the two-dose coronavirus vaccine. Since the pandemic began nearly a year ago, more than 1.8 million Floridians have been infected, and nearly 30,000 people have died.

Right now, Florida is giving vaccines only to medical workers and people over 65 and these additional federally-sponsored sites are expected to operate under the same rules even though they differ from the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other states and VA clinics are giving vaccines to people under 65 who have certain conditions that would put them at higher risk if they contracted COVID-19, as well as essential workers who have contact with the public, such as school teachers and grocery workers.

Also Friday, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced that her agency is launching a bilingual vaccine education campaign to encourage COVID-19 vaccination among the state’s farmworkers. She noted that people in the agricultural community are among the most at risk for dying from COVID-19, according to a recent University of California study.

About the Authors:

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

Digital election producer in 2022. He created WJXT.com in 1995 and managed The Local Station's website through 2021.