Targeted Vaccine Area initiative takes COVID-19 vaccines directly to seniors in Hillsborough County

Posted at 6:19 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 18:23:44-05

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla.— — Dozens of seniors in Hillsborough County got a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday. It’s all a part of a plan to help reach people 65 and up right where they live.

“Even though I consider myself perfectly healthy, it’s something that I didn’t want to regret if I didn’t take the vaccine,” said Raymond Clas, who received his first dose of the vaccine Friday.

The Targeted Vaccine Area (TVA) initiative came to River Pines Senior Apartments in Tampa Friday and was expected to give doses to an estimated 106 people who are 65 and up. County officials explain the program aims to identify areas with high concentrations of seniors and deliver vaccines right to them.

“The county has identified over 300 locations,” said Carlos Mercado, director of the Disease Control Division at the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County. “We have been working our way through it. The last month, 21 days, we have provided vaccine to 13 different locations.”

In fact, the county says last week, vaccinations were given to more than 1,100 seniors through the TVA program. Hillsborough County began the joint initiative to expand vaccine distribution last month.

“I’d rather have it than to be walking around and not have it, and everybody else does,” said Mariam Coolidge, who got the vaccine. “You've got to look out for yourself. You've got to look out for your family. You've got to look out for your neighbors.”

USF Health, Hillsborough Community College, Tampa General Hospital, and the Tampa Housing Authority are partners in the TVA initiative. Staff from the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management and Aging Services continue to identify locations for future vaccinations.

“I’m looking forward to taking the second vaccination, and hopefully that’ll help me from winding up in the hospital, like a lot of people have winded up and passed away. I don’t want to be another victim,” said Clas.