Tampa Bay COVID-19 vaccination sites prepare for increase in demand as state lowers age requirements

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Posted at 10:48 PM, Mar 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 05:10:21-04

TAMPA, Fla. — On Monday more people in the Tama Bay area will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, as the age requirement lowers to 50 and older.

Luis Luna, 51, said he was hesitant to get vaccinated at first, but now that his age group is next in line, he feels more comfortable.

“I was just waiting to see if there were some side effects or stuff like that, but I believe I’m ready probably to take it soon,” said Luna.

The Tampa Greyhound Track is one of the FEMA-supported vaccination sites in Tampa where no appointment is needed. However, the site incident commander said there’s been a drop in people coming to get vaccinated.

“It’s hard because we know that there’s people that meet the criteria that hasn’t been vaccinated yet, so we just want to make sure people know that we’re here to vaccinate those that meet that executive order,” said Carole Covey Incident Commander at the Tampa Greyhound Track vaccination site.

The site has the ability to administer more than 2,000 COVID-19 vaccines a day and Covey said no vaccine will go to waste.

“Any unopen viles are stored appropriately overnight and then we’re able to reuse them in our inventory tomorrow, the next day,” she said.

Mayor Jane Castor is also urging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. The mayor pointed to the county’s positivity rate for new coronavirus tests. As of Saturday, the positivity rate for Hillsborough County was 8.03% which is above the statewide rate of 6%.

“We are in a race to get people vaccinated against these variants that are coming in. We have hit a plateau with our positivity rate, which is indicative of the possibility of another surge upward. We’ve seen some of the footage from the Spring Break events that are occurring so everybody that can be vaccinated needs to get vaccinated now,” said Castor.

And starting Wednesday, the Tampa Greyhound Track vaccine site will begin administering second doses.

“As far as that process goes, we’re still working to finalize that with the state on how exactly it’s going to look like on our campus,” said Covey.

Covey said the site is expecting and prepared for a larger demand in people wanting the vaccine since the age requirement has lowered.

Tampa Greyhound Track vaccination site is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Make sure you bring your photo ID and work ID if it’s required.

The mayor is encouraging people to use traffic apps to monitor traffic in the area before heading out to any of the sites.