New, permanent vaccine site opening at Kissimmee community center, governor says

Site will offer 200 vaccinations a day

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – A new COVID-19 vaccine site is opening at a Kissimmee community center in Osceola County, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday.

The Chambers Park Community Center is the only community center in Kissimmee currently offering vaccinations, according to the center.

The vaccinations there began Thursday morning, according to the center, and are being offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

The community center added that the site is offering up to 200 vaccinations a day, but anticipates increasing to up to 400 a day, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for at least the next two months.

The governor made the announcement in Jacksonville while speaking at Edward Waters College, a historically Black college, which will also now serve as a permanent vaccine site.

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The governor said these sites, as well as three others across the state, are being set up with the goal of reaching underserved communities.

DeSantis also said plans are in the works to expand who will be eligible to receive a vaccine in the state of Florida. At the moment, only people over the age of 65 and healthcare workers with direct patient contact may get vaccinated.

“We’re going to expand with law enforcement and classroom teachers that are 50 and above, so stay tuned for that announcement next week,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis also hinted that emergency use authorization of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is expected in the coming days, could also shift Florida’s vaccination policy.

The governor said he plans to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when he is eligible.

“We’re also looking at the most effective way to use this Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” DeSantis said. “I don’t know for sure, how many vaccines that means for the state of Florida. We think it’s... it’s going to be tens of thousands, I mean I hope it’s more than that but at a minimum, we think it’ll be tens of thousands. So, we’re gonna take that Johnson and Johnson and apply that in the way that makes the most sense.”

DeSantis did not elaborate further on what the approval of the J&J vaccine would mean for the state; however, he suggested that widespread vaccinations could begin in April.

“As we get into April, this thing is not going to be very difficult for people to be able to get,” DeSantis said. “I think the supply is going to be very robust. So we’re looking at within the next four to six weeks, and you’re going to see this, I think, potentially really turn a corner just in terms of how ready access people have to it.”


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