DeSantis announces 7 new COVID vaccination sites in partnership with local churches

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the opening of seven new COVID-19 vaccination sites as part of a partnership with local churches and worship centers, as efforts continue to administer doses to seniors 65 and older.

Speaking with reporters at Lynn Haven Senior Center in Bay County on Sunday, the governor said the expansions aim to ensure any senior throughout the state who wants the coronavirus vaccine can get one.

“We really believe making sure these vaccines are getting in to all segments of communities is important,” he said.

DeSantis is hoping these partnerships can help him reach that goal faster.

“We’re doing 50,000; 60,000 shots throughout the state of Florida, and we are trying to do much more. We’re trying to get more vaccines, so we’re excited about the progress,” he said.

Two of the new sites are in South Florida: one in Fort Lauderdale and the other at Koinonia Worship Center in Hollywood.

Seniors who spoke with 7News at the Hollywood site said it was a smooth and easy process.

“Everything went smoothly. We drove straight through, filled out the paperwork, came over and got the shot,” said Barbara Cleare. “We haven’t been here 10 minutes.”

They said they’re excited to see this weapon against the pandemic now available.

“We’re doing what we believe is right,” said a man at the Hollywood site.

The man said he and his wife have not seen their family in months, but after receiving both doses of the vaccine, they hope that changes soon.

“In two weeks, we’ll get our second vaccine, and then we’ll wait two weeks, and then we’ll be comfortable enough to at least get outside,” he said.

State officials have ramped up efforts to ensure seniors receive the vaccine, as sites throughout South Florida pop up throughout Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

It’s not a moment too soon. On Sunday, the Florida Department of Health reported more than 12,000 new cases of COVID-19 and 108 deaths.

Starting Monday, Baptist Health will also start vaccinating seniors. They’re starting with 12,000 appointments, but officials expect to expand that number as more doses become available in the coming weeks.

“We can’t overstress the importance of getting vaccinated, especially when it means protecting our most vulnerable citizens: our seniors,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

Over at the Hard Rock Stadium site in Miami Gardens, vaccinations will be put on pause Monday for the College Football National Championship Game. Vaccines will be administered from 9 a.m. until noon.

“This is by appointment only for vaccines. If you do not have an appointment, please do not come out here,” said Mike Jachles with the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “The last thing we want to see is people coming out and waiting and getting turned away because they don’t have an appointment.”

Sunday evening, Miami-Dade County officials confirmed they are going to release a limited number of COVID-19 vaccine appointment slots beginning at 2 p.m. on Monday.

For more information about making an appointment at Miami-Dade vaccination sites, click here. For sites in Broward, click here.

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