Vaccination Site For Seniors, Healthcare Workers Opens At Regency Square Mall

Jan 20, 2021

The Florida Department of Health opened a new COVID-19 vaccine site at Regency Square Mall in Arlington Wednesday, according to a tweet from the Florida Association of Public Information Officers.

The site is only open to Florida residents age 65 and older and healthcare workers. Appointments need to be made in advance by calling 1-866-200-3762. The state will not give shots to people who show up without scheduling an appointment. People who sign up to get a vaccine must bring a photo ID to show proof of age and residency.

WJCT News partner News4Jax reports a registration website is in the works, but is not yet available. 

The announcement came as Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry Wednesday said the city’s two existing vaccination sites at the Mandarin and Lane Wiley senior centers will close when they run out of doses of the vaccine. 

“The city of Jacksonville does not control the supply chain and what's available,” Curry told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. “While the state of Florida determines who receives their weekly allotment and how much, they don't even know how much they will get on a week to week basis.”

Related: Curry Says City Expected To Run Out Of COVID-19 Vaccines By Thursday

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced that some Publix supermarkets would offer vaccination as well, but according to the Florida News Service, those sites have not had any vaccine doses to administer.

Related: Publix Stores In St. Johns County To Offer COVID-19 Vaccines

Once the city-run sites close, the Regency Square Mall will be Jacksonville’s only public vaccination site. Area hospitals and Veterans Affairs will continue to offer vaccines to eligible populations that they serve. 

“Coming off of the news last week or the week before about this lack of federal reserve of the vaccine, we know that there's been struggles with the federal government trying to procure vaccine from both Pfizer and Moderna,” UF Health’s Chad Nielsen said Wednesday on WJCT News’ First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross.  “And then we find out from the HHS Secretary [Alex Azar], which prompted his resignation that there is no backup supply that the federal government can send to the states. And the conclusion of that is that there's no vaccine available to push to the states.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which distributes vaccine doses to the states, Florida received 132,600 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine the week of January 18 and is scheduled to receive an additional 132,600 first doses the week of January 25. The state is also scheduled to receive the same number of second doses each week. 

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for maximum effectiveness.

Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said Wednesday he does not know when additional “first doses” of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be sent to the state, saying distribution is a “supply-limited situation.”

At the current rate, it will take months to vaccinate all of Florida’s senior citizens and health care workers before access is expanded to other high-risk groups.

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases continue to surge in Florida and across the country. More than 9,000 new cases were reported in Florida on January 18, for a total of 1,589,087 cases and 24,436 deaths. 

The coronavirus test positivity rate in Duval County was 14.9% at the time of this story’s publication. The tracking nonprofit Covid Act Now reports Duval County’s hospital occupancy is at 87%, which it categorizes as “critical.” 

Once people receive the vaccine, they will be monitored for 15-30 minutes for any symptoms of COVID-19 or an allergic reaction.

People who get the vaccine will be contacted by the state later about getting a second dose.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management did not respond to a request for comment regarding the availability of vaccines.


Contact reporter Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.