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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

State Hosts Pop-Up Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Clinics In Tampa

Sign in a parking lot that reads "State of Florida COVID-19 Vaccination Site"
Stephanie Colombini
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The Tampa Housing Authority is hosting some pop-up clinics on their properties, but they are open to all Florida residents eligible for vaccines.

All members of the community 18 years and older are welcome at the sites. Appointments aren't required.

The state is partnering with the Tampa Housing Authority to host pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics at some of its apartment complexes. The sites are open to all Florida residents ages 18 and older and offer single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

More mobile sites are planned for this weekend at other locations in the city. See the list at the bottom of this story.

Events were held on Friday at J.L. Young Apartments near Lowry Park and Moses White Apartments in Del Rio. Two more are scheduled for Saturday at Bay Ceia Apartments and Arbors at Padgett Estates in South Tampa, according to the housing authority's director of asset management, Lorenzo Bryant.

Evelyn Brethauer, 63, said she wanted the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so she didn’t have to wait for a second shot to be fully protected. When her health provider told her about the state-run site at J.L. Young, she drove up from St. Petersburg to take advantage of the opportunity.

“Knowing that I have asthma, COPD and emphysema, I’m one of those people that if it's [the coronavirus] out there, I'll catch it, so I'd rather not catch it,” she said.

The site was small, with about a dozen staff members working under a few white tents in the parking lot. There was a steady stream of visitors on Friday afternoon but no long waits.

Brethauer said she preferred that to visiting a mass vaccination site, even if one would have been closer to home.

“Oh my God, all those lines that I’ve seen, and there’s no lines here, I love this place,” she said.

Nick Smoolca, 20, agreed. The University of Tampa student said he liked that he didn't need an appointment and appreciated the convenience.

“It was actually really efficient, I was done with the whole process within like 20 minutes I feel like, so it didn't take too much out of my day and I got the vaccine,” he said.

Smoolca doesn’t have any health issues but still wanted to protect himself against COVID-19 so he could visit his family in Connecticut later this year. He’s encouraging all young people to get their shots, adding “it helps other people too.”

The Tampa Housing Authority has played an active role in helping its residents get vaccinated in recent months. It has hosted numerous pop-up clinics in partnership with Hillsborough County’s Office of Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough.

Lorenzo Bryant said it seemed like a natural fit to partner with the state and offer up their properties as locations the entire community could visit.

He said hosting the sites also helps encourage residents at the affordable housing complexes who may have been wary to get shots initially to change their minds.

“When they actually see the mobile site and walk up to the location and get confidence in the structure that they see, more people tend to get their vaccinations, from what I’ve seen, on the day of,” Bryant said.

Bryant said he expects the housing authority will partner on more vaccination events in the future.

Here are more local vaccination sites the Florida Department of Health has scheduled for this weekend:

  • Saturday, April 10 –
    • Rivers of Life Christian Ministries 301 Lakewood Drive, Brandon, FL 33510, 10 a.m. – 7p.m.
    • Centennial Park1800 E. 8th Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Encore District 1000 E. Harrison Street, Tampa, FL 33602,10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 11 – CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER
    • Curtis Hixon Park 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, FL 33602, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Hyde Park 702 S. Albany Avenue, Tampa, FL 33606, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Greater Bethel Missionary Baptist Church 1207 N. Jefferson Street, Tampa, FL 33602, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
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