JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis made a big announcement Tuesday in Jacksonville regarding the expansion of the COVID-19 vaccine availability in Florida.
DeSantis said the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to seniors at 119 Walmart stores across 34 counties by Friday. This includes 18 Walmarts in Duval County and 17 stores in Orange County alone.
The state announced that one store in Fort Pierce, one store in Okeechobee and four stores in Port St. Lucie will be part of the Walmart and Sam's Club vaccine distribution.
The Fort Pierce store is located at 5100 Okeechobee Road and the Okeechobee store is located at 2101 S. Parrott Avenue.
The stores in Port St. Lucie include the locations at 10855 S. US Highway 1, 1850 SW Gatlin Boulevard, 1750 SW Gatlin Boulevard and 902 SW Saint Lucie West Boulevard.
Also, Publix will begin administering the vaccine at select stores in Okeechobee County starting Friday. Appointments can be booked using the online reservation website starting Wednesday for Friday shots. Additional appointments can be booked Friday and Monday.
"Some of those areas didn't have the Publix footprint," DeSantis said. "These are additional doses not even counting what we are already doing from the federal pharmacy program."
He said Walmart is receiving around 25,000 doses of the vaccine this week.
The governor also said the vaccine availability is being added to additional Publix pharmacy locations in Florida. He said by the end of this week, the Publix vaccination program will be expanded to almost 600 Publix stores statewide in 41 counties.
He said adding pharmacies to distribute the vaccine is a game-changer for the state.
"We're going to add to those numbers and have a majority of seniors [vaccinated] in no time," DeSantis said.
A third of seniors in Florida have already received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to DeSantis.
He said the rest of the population will have to continue to wait for the shot while experts work to vaccinate the elderly and most vulnerable.
"We will move on when we have done right by the seniors," DeSantis said. "Once we start to see some softening in the demand, then we need to get the footprint wider."
Around 1.1 million seniors have received at least one shot, which the governor said is the most in the U.S. He said Florida is only a handful of states that has vaccinated a third of their senior population.
In addition to the vaccines being provided to Walmart and Publix, the governor said the doses being delivered to health departments and hospitals are also increasing.
"We are about 325,000 [doses] just for the state's allocation that's going to the hospitals, that's going to the county health, that's going to our pop-up sites and drive-thru sites," DeSantis said.
Below is the list of Publix, Walmart and Winn-Dixie vaccine sites by county:
Publix – 593 locations (324 current, 269 new) (Alachua, Bay, Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Leon, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Monroe, Nassau, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwanee, Volusia and Walton)
Walmart and Sam's Club – 119 locations (Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Duval, Escambia, Gadsden, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Marion, Miami-Dade, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. Lucie, Sumter, Wakulla)
Winn-Dixie – 43 locations (Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Duval, Escambia, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jackson, Lake, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okaloosa, Pasco, Putnam, Sarasota, Sumter, Volusia)
DeSantis was joined by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry at a Walmart Supercenter for the announcement.
Earlier this month, DeSantis announced that with more doses coming to the state, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout would be expanding to pharmacies located at Walmart and Winn-Dixie stores.
For the last few weeks, Publix has been helping to schedule and vaccinate Florida residents ages 65 and older.
As of Tuesday, Florida has more than 1.7 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began early last year.