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Health News Florida
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.

Many Government-Run Vaccination Sites Across Florida Are Shutting Down

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Stephanie Colombini
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WUSF Public Media
Most government-run vaccination sites plan to close by the end of July as demand drops and vaccines become more widely available at pharmacies and other community locations.

In the greater Tampa Bay region, many vaccination sites have already administered their last shots. Most of the remaining state and county facilities are slated to close in the next few weeks.

Even though only about 45 percent of Florida’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, demand for the shots has been decreasing.

In response, mass vaccination sites are shutting down and vaccine supplies are shifting to pharmacies and targeted locations like schools and churches.

Florida’s four federally-supported vaccination sites are scheduled to close on Wednesday.

That includes the Tampa Greyhound Track, which was originally supposed to close at the end of April, but was extended for an additional four weeks.

Last Friday, Raymond James Stadium and the Children’s Board locations stopped administering first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to prepare to shut down at the end of July. The location at Port Tampa Bay will also end first doses of Pfizer on May 30.

Hillsborough County has already closed its vaccination sites at the Ed Radice Sports Complex, the Larry Sanders Sports Complex, the Vance Vogel Sports Complex, and the Plant City Stadium.

RELATED: How To Register For Coronavirus Vaccines Across Tampa Bay

“Over the last couple weeks, we've seen a steep decrease in the number of vaccines that have been requested through the county,” said Earl Brown, deputy operations chief for Hillsborough County Emergency Management. “The reason why we've pulled back a little bit is that the demand is significantly less.”

The county consolidated its public vaccine operation into a single location at the Palm River Community Center. It is currently administering both first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, but plans to stop providing first doses on June 4 to prepare for shutdown.

While the driving force behind these shutdowns is a lack of demand, Brown said the private sector also plays a role.

“Those local providers and local pharmacies have actually surpassed the local government, state and federal—the number of vaccines that they're providing per day is surpassing us,” Brown said. “So we're at that point now where we're starting to back off our needs and requirements.”

As mass vaccination sites close, local and state officials are putting more focus on efforts to target people who have not gotten the vaccine either due to reluctance or lack of access.

In Hillsborough, that means offering shots at mobile vaccination sites.

“We're still providing those mobile resources that are going to be going around to schools and to churches,” Brown said. “All those targeted vaccinations will allow us to continue to provide this service to the community”

To learn more about where to get vaccinated, visit https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator/

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