JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville residents will have more options when it comes to getting the coronavirus vaccine this week after Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced that 16 Walgreens pharmacies in the city will begin administering shots.
Previously, just 12 Walgreens stores in the state were offering the vaccine, but that will now expand to 97. The rest of the stores will be spread across 18 additional counties, including Clay, Alachua, Bradford and Nassau.
Appointment slots were opened Thursday at Walgreens.com and the stores will begin giving shots Friday.
“I can tell you if you look, whenever we’ve put a lot of retail pharmacies in places, I mean the (vaccination) numbers go up because this is what they do every day,” DeSantis said during a news conference at a Walgreens store on the Southside.
All three vaccines -- Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna -- will be offered at the stores.
DeAngel Walker, 38, said her parents are now vaccinated and believes most of those who are vulnerable and want to get the vaccine already have. She believes it’s now time to drop the age restrictions.
“I think we are ready now to bring it out to the masses,” she said.
Florida residents 60 and older will be able to receive the vaccine starting Monday. DeSantis said he will expand the age range to 55 and up sometime in March and likely open it up to the general adult population in April after that if the vaccine supply continues to increase.
DeSantis was also in Lake City on Thursday morning to announce another new drive-thru vaccine site.
The site, located at the Southside Sports Complex on SW Bascom Norris Drive, will administer 1,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, DeSantis said.
About 60% of all seniors in Florida have now gotten at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
News4Jax asked DeSantis about the federal site in Jacksonville and the fact it has rarely met its daily capacity since it opened.
“Obviously, the demand is not what we thought it would be,” he said.
That site is following federal guidelines and he doesn’t believe they are pushing the availability as much as other sites in the state. DeSantis said the fact that you don’t make an appointment and that it’s just a walk-up site might be one of the problems.
“I think it’s worth trying that way,” DeSantis said. “I’m not sure it’s the positive results that they were hoping for but it is a different model than what we have done.”
And those models might shift again after the age requirements are dropped.
Locations included in the expansion of Walgreens:
542356 U.S. Highway 1, Callahan
6006 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville
11135 Lem Turner Rd., Jacksonville
3505 University Blvd. W, Jacksonville
5108 Norwood Ave., Jacksonville
654 Cassat Ave., Jacksonville
1801 N. Davis Street, Jacksonville
7512 Lem Turner Rd., Jacksonville
8309 Southside Blvd., Jacksonville
7221 Normandy Blvd., Jacksonville
7224 Merrill Rd., Jacksonville
3604 Blanding Blvd., Jacksonville
2703 Park St., Jacksonville
11 University Blvd., Jacksonville
5340 Soutel Dr., Jacksonville
866 Dunn Ave., Jacksonville
6103 Fort Caroline Rd., Jacksonville
The vaccine is also available at retail pharmacies at Walmart, Publix, Winn-Dixie and CVS.