Tampa Bay health departments get ready to offer COVID booster shots

Americans can get boosters starting September 20
Virus Outbreak Vaccine
Posted at 4:20 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 17:18:30-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — More people in Tampa Bay are opting to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as the Delta variant continues to spread across the nation. It comes as more Americans will soon be eligible for a third booster shot.

Nurses from the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County are taking their vaccination clinics on the road, visiting employers like Great Bay Distributors and the Clearwater Bar Association.

Still, Florida lags behind a lot of other states with just over 50% of the population fully vaccinated.

After months of waning demand, clinics are starting to see more people opting in for the COVID-19 vaccine as cases tied to the Delta variant surge.

Tom Iovino, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, says some are changing their minds after having friends or family get sick from COVID-19 or realizing the pandemic could linger for longer than expected.

“It was disturbing to see how quickly the number of cases spread here in Pinellas County and really across the country so if that motivated people to go out and get their vaccine, that’s a good thing,” he said.

Local health departments are also preparing to start offering a third booster shot beginning September 20 to anyone who received both doses of Pfizer or Moderna at least eight months prior. Tampa Bay area health leaders tell us they’re ready.

“One thing we have now that we didn’t have before when we first rolled out the vaccine is a tremendous number of doses here in the county,” Iovino added.

It’s still not clear when those who got the Johnson and Johnson shot will be offered a booster.

President Biden plans to offer at least 100 million booster shots nationwide this Fall and early Winter.