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Florida A&M COVID-19 vaccine sites hope executive order boosts turn-out

FAMU COVID vaccine clinic hopes to see turnout with new groups now eligible
Posted at 9:37 AM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 09:37:30-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida A&M University's vaccination clinic at the Al Lawson Center has seen low turnout since opening on February 25.

The clinic vaccinated between 60 and 70 people. It saw 33 people on Monday. However, FAMU Director of Student Health Services Tanya Tatum says there's still interest in the community.

"Every day we're turning away people that don't fit any of the criteria that are eligible to get the vaccine," said Tatum, "Sometimes it's as many as 30 people."

State mandates say only approved people can get the COVID-19 vaccine. For the first couple of months under the vaccine roll-out, shots were saved for health care workers, long-term facility residents and workers, and people 65 and older.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced Monday the window would open up to teachers, firefighters, and law enforcement 50 years and older. Still, community members like Katheryn Mears feel that more can be done.

"I think that if we went over to FAMU now or went over to the web to Walmart right now, you would not find 200 police officers, 200 teachers," said Mears.

She was one of the dozens turned away from receiving a shot over the weekend. The 59-year-old says when she and her 62-year-old friend visited the site at FAMU, there was no one in line, leaving her to wonder why those vaccines aren't going to willing people.

"People who want it can't get it. Some people who need it haven't been contacted," said Mears.

Although lines aren't long in Leon County, the vaccination requirements aren't catered to each county's specific needs. Instead, those changes reflect how the state is operating as a whole, explaining why Leon County isn't opening up to others outside of what the state allows.

"I know the state's still trying to manage supply. I'm hopeful that as supply increases, the groups and individuals that we can vaccinate will increase," said Tatum.

Tanya Tatum says she's expecting a larger Tuesday when law enforcement officers, teachers, and firefighters 50 and older can get the shot.