TAMPA, Fla. — Vaccination efforts are ramping up across Tampa Bay as hundreds of available doses went unused at the FEMA-supported site in Tampa.
“It’s a much-needed service,” said incident commander Carole Covey. “I think everybody over the last year now are weary from COVID and this is a light at the end of the tunnel for some people.”
According to FEMA, the mass vaccination site in Tampa can handle up to 3,000 people per day. But data obtained by ABC Action News shows hundreds of missed opportunities over the last week.
On Saturday, 2,274 doses were distributed, leaving 726 available appointments. The next day, only 2,544 doses out of 3,000 were distributed.
In total, between the mass vaccination site and two satellite locations, more than 3,000 doses have been unused since last Wednesday.
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FEMA reports shots not used are simply rolled over to the next day.
“More and more people are coming every day,” said Covey. “From the moment you walk in the tents, our team has made it an effort to make people feel welcome, to make people feel like they’re important in this process.”
The massive operation has been a special homecoming for Justin Feischammel, a senior airman with the U.S. Air Force.
Stationed in Colorado, working the FEMA-supported vaccination site marks the first deployment for the native Floridian.
“It just gives me a lot of joy just knowing that I’m able to help the community, especially one that I used to be a part of," Feischammel said.