JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Federally supported vaccination sites throughout Florida, including a Jacksonville site, will stick around a month longer than originally planned, News4Jax learned on Monday.
The news comes as the state is preparing to make COVID-19 vaccinations available to all adults beginning next week as officials aim to streamline access to the vaccine for the general public.
Monday marked the first day the state allowed everyone ages 40 and up to get their shots, and this time next week all Floridians ages 18 and up will be able to get theirs as well.
That made for one of the busiest days at the Gateway Shopping Mall on Jacksonville’s Northside, the main federally supported testing site available to Northeast Florida residents.
At that site and its sister locations in Miami, Orlando and Tampa, the goal is now to administer 3,000 first doses a day. To take advantage of that volume, the sites are set to stay open until May 26.
Besides Gateway, Jacksonville has six other government supported sites, including the Regency Square Mall. Vaccines are also available at CVS, Walgreens, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Walmart, and pop-up clinics.
A source of confusion for some is that the federally supported satellite sites, like Normandy Community Center and Hammond Senior Center, are currently only offering second doses of the shot.
Melissa Green said she got a ride to the Normandy site Monday morning but was turned away and told to go to the main federal site at Gateway instead.
“I did not have a way and I live over in Orange Park,” Green said. “Hardly no buses or cabs go there, so I had to get a friend to pick me up to take me there and I will probably do the same for the second shot.”
For weeks, Jacksonville vaccine sites have had thousands of doses go unused daily. State officials are waiting to see if that changes once the vaccine is available to everyone.
There’s no word yet if the state will administer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine starting next month. While more and more people ask for it, it’s been tough to find supplies to meet that demand.