NICEVILLE, Fla. – Given the positive reviews of the program thus far, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that more Florida Publix pharmacies will soon begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine to residents 65 and older.
The governor made the announcement outside a grocery store in Niceville Tuesday morning. He said registration will open Wednesday for seven Publix stores in Okaloosa County, five in Santa Rosa County and six in Escambia County.
Hours later, DeSantis visited another Publix in Panama City Beach to let the public know that three stores in Walton County and five in Bay County will also open up registration on Wednesday.
Shots will begin Thursday and the goal is to inoculate 100 to 125 seniors each day at each location.
“I can tell you, I visited a number of their stores in Hernando County on the weekend, talked to all the seniors, 100% of them gave everything high marks, it was easy to get online. They had a great system to get people through and people were happy with it. So that’s what’s gonna happen here, people are going to be happy with the way that this works,” DeSantis said.
He emphasized that the Publix locations are only open to elderly Florida residents and anyone without an appointment will be turned away.
“I mean, I know we have other states that are close by here. You guys follow with what your state’s doing here, this is going to be for folks who are in Florida, so we really wanted it for the Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa residents,” DeSantis said Tuesday morning.
A full list of Publix locations offering the shots is available here.
Last week, DeSantis announced that select Publix locations in Marion, Citrus and Hernando counties would begin inoculating seniors.
Residents said that when appointments opened in Marion County, they were filled up within minutes but those who were able to snag a slot said the process was seamless.
“It was wonderful. Make the appointment, show up, done,” Dave Barach said after receiving his dose.
DeSantis said he appreciates everything Publix has done with the program and he believes having the shots available at stores will help provide access to seniors who may not be able to get to other vaccination sites.
“I think this is gonna make a big difference and at the end of the day, almost everyone is comfortable coming to the supermarket. Not everyone wants to go to a hospital, not everyone can drive across town to go to a big drive-thru test site. And so, you know, elderly people, we need to do what we can to get it in their communities. And I want to thank Publix for stepping up, they’ve been ready to go from day one,” DeSantis said.
State records show more than 342,000 seniors have gotten at least their first dose thus far.
Those wishing to get inoculated at Publix can click here for more information.