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State works to get more people vaccinated as local test sites see surge

Posted at 11:13 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 23:13:56-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Governor says state-run testing sites like Bragg Stadium could soon be converted to vaccine sites.

Almost 5,000 vaccines arrived in Leon County and more arriving in Wakulla and Taylor Counties.

Governor Ron DeSantis is looking to increase COVID-19 vaccinations for those 65 and up and healthcare workers.

"We want to accelerate that pace, we believe vaccinations the sooner the better," said DeSantis.

DeSantis' statement comes as site leaders at Bragg Memorial set a testing record Monday with more than 4,000 people tested in one day.

"Quite frankly the numbers just don't look good. We have significant community transmission of COVID-19," Tanya Tatum, FAMU Director of Student Health Services said.

In the state's four-step plan, DeSantis is looking to eventually turn state testing sites into vaccine sites.

"I've directed the division of emergency management to work with the Florida Department of Health to be converted into vaccine sites. These are sites that are generally pretty large," DeSantis explained.

Local health officials say this is something they are preparing for too.

"We anticipate in the near future, we'll probably be doing more of a drive-by kind of thing. Kind of what's going on when we do our testing," said Padriac Juarez, Health Officer with the Wakulla and Taylor county department of health.

Taylor and Wakulla Counties, who just started vaccinating seniors Monday, have already received 500 more doses each.

With a new strain of the coronavirus spreading, experts say everyone needs to follow CDC guidelines, vaccine or not.

"The fact that we have this new strain of the virus that is more transmissible we are just now becoming more aware of it we're just now testing for it so I'm assuming and probably rightfully so that is already circulating, said Tatum.

The Governor also mentioned identifying places of worship in under-served communities where the vaccine can be administered.