TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will continue to provide 500 first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine each day at the Tampa Greyhound Track.
The state had said they would only be able to administer second dose shots through April 14, but now they’re saying both first and second doses will be available to eligible populations from Wednesday through April 7.
Incident Commander Carol Covey told 8 On Your Side starting Wednesday, they will have 2,000 doses at the Tampa Greyhound track dedicated to second doses. In additional, they will have 500 doses dedicated to first doses.
Covey says the state has been able to look at where the need is, and was able to allocate additional doses at the Tampa Greyhound Track because there is a need in the community for first doses.
“I think it’s mostly going to be helpful for the community out here,” Covey said. “That’s 500 people who can start that vaccination series and then start their three week period to get vaccinated and complete that process sooner.”
Satellite locations associated with the site will continue administering only second dose shots from Wednesday through April 14. The satellite sites will return to their original locations so that everyone who received their first dose at those locations can get their second doses.
FEMA leaders say those wanting to get their second dose will have to show proof they’ve received the first.
“If you are coming for your second dose, please make sure you bring your CDC card that tells your information about your first dose, bring your I.D. So we can verify who you are,” a FEMA spokeswoman said.
The state will offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine from April 14 to April 28.
If you can’t get a shot at one of the FEMA locations, there are other options, including pharmacies, county and state run vaccinations sites.
The change comes as Florida opens vaccine eligibility to ages 50 and older.
“There’s so many people because they dropped the age group,” a woman named Kimberly told News Channel 8 after wheeling herself to the main FEMA site at Tampa’s Greyhound track Monday. “People want to get it and I’m so glad to see it.”
But by the time she arrived, around 6 p.m., the site had run out of its daily supply and Tampa police had already begun turning people away.
Covey told 8 On Your Side they did have an increase of patients coming through Monday, which they were expecting, and ultimately, they reached their allotment for the day early in the afternoon.
Fema was able to get additional allotment for Monday, so more than 3,600 people were able to vaccinated.
Kimberly told News Channel 8 she is still determined to protect herself against the virus and plans to return Tuesday morning.
“This way its coming down hill,” Kimberly said. “Going this way its gonna be a little harder but that’s ok because I want my vaccine and I want to feel safe again and I wanna be around my grandchildren.”