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Hillsborough Announces Program To Deliver Coronavirus Vaccines To Senior Communities

Hillsborough County is expanding its coronavirus vaccine program and has begun to distribute it at  Kings Manor in Tampa. It plans to add other local senior communities,.
Hillsborough County Department of Health
Hillsborough County is expanding its coronavirus vaccine program. It distributed doses at Kings Manor in Tampa on Thursday and plans to add other local senior communities.

It's an effort to get the vaccine in the hands of seniors who are struggling to get to drive-through sites or making reservations.

Hillsborough County is expanding its coronavirus vaccine program and has started to distribute it at local senior communities.

The program began on Thursday at Kings Manor in Tampa.

The county has identified 350 senior homes and independent living communities in the area to visit in the coming weeks and expects the list to grow.

The goal is to help residents struggling to access the drive-through sites in the community.

"It's not necessarily easy for them to come to us at all times, especially at the public sites," said Kevin Watler, spokesman with the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County. "It's very difficult to make reservations and even just the transportation to and from may be a challenge, so we want to make sure we're doing everything we can to get those communities protected."

Watler said getting to all the locations it’s identified week to week will depend on how much vaccine supplies are available. He urges residents to be patient as the process develops.

“The vaccine is in very short supply, we know that so we don't want to over-promise and under-deliver,” he said. “So as we work through the process we'll let everybody know where we've been and how many people have received the vaccine through the process.”

The vaccine is currently available to those residents at five distribution sites across the county.

Watler said the county plans to return to each location 3 to 4 weeks after the initial visit to deliver second doses.

The initiative is a partnership between the health department, Hillsborough County's Office of Emergency Management and Department of Aging Services, as well as the University of South Florida's College of Nursing and Tampa General Hospital.

I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.