Tampa’s FEMA site reopens Monday; nearly half of vaccine supply goes unused

Coronavirus

TAMPA (WFLA) – After severe weather over the weekend shut down the federally supported mass vaccination site at Tampa’s Greyhound Track, 23-year-old Sarah Hronec said it took all of 10 minutes to get vaccinated Monday afternoon.

“I was a little nervous cause I’m not great with needles,” she said, “but it was pretty painless.”

By day’s end, 8 On Your Side learned only about 1,600 shots were administered out of the FEMA site’s daily allotment of up to 3,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“Today it definitely looks like the demand for Johnson & Johnson specifically has decreased,” FEMA site incident commander Carol Covey told 8 On Your Side around 4 p.m.

According to data from the Florida Department of Health, more than 7.2 million Floridians have received at least one shot.

Six out of ten seniors have full vaccine protection against COVID-19, USF epidemiologist Jason Salemi said.

“One million seniors in our state have yet to receive any doses and another 800,000 seniors who are not fully vaccinated and if you look across the people who are less than 65 years of age nearly 10 million have yet to receive any doses,” said Salemi, who is closely following the state’s vaccine rollout.

Salemi said relaxed virus mitigation and more transmissible variants are contributed to a rise in new COVID-19 cases in Florida over the past two to three weeks, mainly in younger age groups. But he added he is also tracking a minor uptick in the senior population.

“It’s not substantial yet,” Salemi said, “but any time especially in a highly vaccinated group we start to see cases rise again it should be a cautionary tale.”

Hronec said she hopes other young people wont their shot to help put an end to the pandemic.

“This isn’t gonna be going away for a while even with the vaccinations so the more people get vaccinated the better,” she said.

No appointments are needed at the Tampa Greyhound Track vaccination site, which is open weather permitting seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

8 On Your Side has set up a guide for all the sites in Tampa Bay that are offering the coronavirus vaccine.  

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