FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Select Walmart stores across South Florida have begun administering doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to those who meet the requirements.
The large retailer is one of several chains that are now offering the vaccine, giving a major boost to the rollout in the Sunshine State.
Some retail pharmacies across South Florida are offering the medication. A Publix in Monroe County, a Fresco y Más in Southwest Miami-Dade and Sam’s Clubs locations in Broward and Miami Dade counties are also participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination.
In Hialeah, meanwhile, hundreds will soon be receiving their first dose of a vaccine.
“I’m very happy to announce the first 1,000 vaccines have arrived,” said Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernández.
The mayor said this is a good start, but his city needs more doses.
“This is not a big hooray. It’s the first 1,000,” he said. “I hope that they continue to send us as many as they can, because we can do this all day long here in the City of Hialeah … We still need a lot more vaccines here, not only in Hialeah, but in South Florida.”
On Friday, the state reported 7.617 new cases of the virus and a positivity rate of 6.2%.
With more people getting a shot in the arm, progress is being made, but Dr. Anthony Fauci said pandemic rules like wearing masks will be around for several more months.
Some experts are concerned COVID-19 could become endemic, essentially meaning it sticks around the way the flu does.
“If we start giving it that title, we tend to be giving up and allowing the virus to win. Something I don’t want to see happen,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University.
During a town hall meeting on Friday, Jackson Health System officials talked about their vaccine distribution plans.
“We’ve only vaccinated 29% of the people over 65. We need to get to that 50% number,” said Jackson Health CEO Carlos Migoya.
Part of their current focus is to increase the number of homebound seniors who have access to the medication, but the county is currently only vaccinating 20 a day.
“As we get additional single-dose vaccines, maybe Johnson & Johnson and some of the other things, then we can start expanding on that,” said Migoya.
Of the Walmart stores currently offering the vaccine, there are nine in Broward and two in Miami-Dade.
Appointments are required to receive the vaccine at Walmart locations. To find out how, click here.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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