Tampa mass COVID-19 vaccine site opens Wednesday, will offer 3,000 vaccines daily

Posted at 7:11 AM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 17:44:10-05

TAMPA, Fla. — A federally-supported mass COVID-19 vaccine site now open in Tampa will offer 3,000 vaccines per day with help from two mobile sites.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced the Tampa Greyhound Track as a federally-supported vaccination site, which is one of four in Florida, on Feb. 19. It opened Wednesday, March 3, and will operate seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The hub will administer 2,000 vaccines daily, while two mobile sites will each offer 500 vaccines in underserved areas, according to a press release.

"I’m very happy to see that they brought something like this into our community and that they’re acknowledging the people on this end of town," said Brenda Franco. "Because they’re always last."

Franco, 68, is eligible to get the vaccine but hasn’t had the opportunity while raising two grandchildren.

She’s thankful to see the big, white tents within walking distance.

“A lot of people in this area don’t have vehicles,” said Franco. “You have a lot of homeless people in this area too. So they definitely picked the right area, it’s going to benefit a lot of people.”

Walk-ups are accepted, but if the site is at capacity, workers will help you make an appointment for another day. Officials recommend pre-registering beforehand.

“This site is one piece in a larger puzzle, so any vaccine that you can get access to based on your particular situation or eligibility, take advantage of that opportunity," said Hallie Anderson with FEMA external affairs. "The vaccination that you can get into your arm is the right vaccination for you.”

Dozens of people pulled up in their cars throughout the day on Wednesday to get their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Coordinators explained people will park and walk into a registration tent to start the process before getting the vaccine.

People told ABC Action News the process was simple to navigate.

"I know for myself I will rest more peacefully tonight knowing that at least one in my family got the first shot, and I look forward to my other ones getting their shot, and I would love to be able to go out to restaurants and get back to normal," said Anna Provenzano, who got a dose of the vaccine.

According to the state, the following are eligible to get a vaccine at the federally-supported sites:

  • Long-term care facility residents and staff
  • Persons 65 years of age and older
  • Health care personnel with direct patient contact
  • K-12 school employees 50 years of age and older
  • Sworn law enforcement officers 50 years of age and older
  • Firefighters 50 years of age and older
  • Individuals deemed extremely vulnerable by a physician

A state spokesperson explained previously the state said these sites weren't able to vaccinate extremely vulnerable individuals, due to not having the appropriate medical personnel on-site. The spokesperson said these sites are being augmented with the appropriate medical personnel that can vaccinate extremely vulnerable individuals. Those deemed extremely vulnerable will need to present a Florida Department of Health form before getting the vaccine.

The state will use the current preregistration system to provide appointments. Preregistration can be done online or by calling 866-200-3896.

Below is a list of numbers to call to register and make an appointment at Tampa Greyhound Track. Each county has a different number:

The site is opening after DeSantis expanded the groups eligible for the vaccine on Monday. Effective Wednesday, all sworn law enforcement officers, firefighters, and K-12 school personnel who are 50 and older are able to get vaccinated.

The governor also expanded access to the vaccine for "extremely vulnerable" people who are under 65.

The other mass sites will be in Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville.