JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As more vaccines become available the demand in Duval County seems to be dropping.
At one federal site in Jacksonville with a capacity for 500 people, just 29 got the shot on Thursday.
Thousands of doses have been made available at new federal sites in Jacksonville, but so far only a third of that supply appears to be getting used each day.
On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed the demand issue. He said the age restriction will be lowered sometime in March.
But right now there are people who don’t meet the age requirement at the sites hoping to get leftover shots.
With teachers of all ages eligible for the vaccine there has been a steady flow of people at the federal vaccination site at the Gateway Mall but just a trickle of people at the two satellite sites in Jacksonville. Which is one reason why the governor will announce more changes to age requirements in the near future.
“We’re going to do an age-based approach going forward. It will happen in March. We will move the age down. I haven’t got that exact date because it’s dependent on the vaccine supply and it’s dependent on making sure we’re getting shots in the arms for seniors,” DeSantis said.
He said more than likely the minimum age requirement will go down from 65 to 60 and then down 55 years old and an announcement will be made later this month.
The announcement comes as demand seems to be softening.
At the Gateway Mall site on Thursday, 840 shots were given at a site set up to administer 2,000 vaccines a day. At the two satellite sites, 150 people were vaccinated at the Westside site at Normandy Community Center on Lindsey Road, but only 29 people got the shot at the location in Northwest Jacksonville at Hammond Senior Center on West 12th Street. Each of the satellite sites has the capacity to do 500 shots a day.
At the state site at the Regency Mall, the latest numbers from Wednesday show 1,780 shots were administered at a site that can handle 2,000 first and second doses.
Edward Waters College can vaccinate 200 people a day and on Thursday it administered 247 shots because staff says it got extra doses from the vials.
News4Jax spoke to health experts in Jacksonville about the impact of lowering age requirements for the vaccine. One expert said the younger population may not be as keen on getting vaccinated.
“Is the demand there? Obviously folks like me in public health and epidemiology we want as many people to get vaccinated as possible. But it doesn’t mean those people want to get vaccinated for a variety of reasons,” said Chad Neilsen with UF Health. “Maybe they have preconceived notions of the vaccine maybe they’re just not sure yet. But that’s ok. It means we have to start educating more.”