FLORIDA — A day after many health departments across the state temporarily suspended the COVID-19 vaccine registration after the first week of appointments for those 65 and older quickly filled up, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced at two separate press conferences additional vaccine sites that will be available soon.
This also follows two days of registration frustrations seniors from across Florida experienced from numerous health department sites such as Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee when its websites crashed and phone systems were disrupted as they tried to register for the vaccine.
A record daily increase of 17,783 positive coronavirus cases was reported by the Florida Department of Health on Wednesday. The Tampa Bay Times reported this is a record for the state as it previously reached a record daily number of cases on Dec. 31, when it added 17,192 infections, according to state data. Since March, the state has reported 1,409,906 positive cases; 64,321 hospitalizations; and 22,647 coronavirus-related deaths.
During a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Miami Gardens, DeSantis was joined by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cana for the soft opening of the COVID-19 drive-thru vaccination site at Hard Rock Stadium. This is the first state operated drive-thru site.
The site will completely open on Jan. 8. They have not released details on how to register for vaccines at the Hard Rock. People 65 and older will be able to receive the doses.
Earlier Wednesday, DeSantis was joined by Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis as he held a press conference in Pensacola at Olive Baptist Church announcing two new vaccination sites, Olive Baptist Church and Milton Community Center that will be operated by Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital.
"The state is going to be converting some of our drive-thru testing sites into vaccine sites, and you're going to have an announcement on that soon," DeSantis said.
The governor also said he would not allow local governments to implement their own lock downs or fine people for not following mandates.
"It's not effective," DeSantis said.
DeSantis said that next week, so far the state of Florida is looking to receive a quarter of a million (250,000) doses with an equal split of Moderna and Pfizer.
Pinellas County has 48,273 positive cases, according to the FDOH. Hillsborough has 82,257 cases; Polk has 40,361 cases; Pasco has 23,606 cases; Sarasota has 20,190 cases; Manatee has 23,690 cases; and Dade has 314,742 cases.