According to the Florida Department of Health, more than 106,000 Pinellas residents have received at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, representing approximately 11 percent of the population.
The county opened a new vaccination site Tuesday morning, at 1197 East Bay Drive, Largo, with vaccinations administered by Pinellas County Fire paramedics and Department of Health staff. It is the largest site in the area to date, according to Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton, and will hopefully ease the strain on the registration system, which has been severely taxed since vaccinations began.
“The more opportunities we have for people, that just makes it easier,” Burton said when asked if the recent influx of grocery and drugstores offering vaccines has helped. “If we have 48 locations at Publix, that’s 48 more people that are putting shots in arms.
“And that’s how the flu shot works. You can have many different ways in which you can get a flu shot. Right now, though, everybody needs it, so obviously there’s a pent-up demand.”
Dr. Ulyee Choe, director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, declined to speculate as to whether the discovery of variants of the coronavirus strain might require a third, or booster, vaccination. “It may be a little premature to speak on the various variants and how they impact vaccines,” Choe said. “Obviously there’s a lot of research.
“In terms of longevity, that’s another question with the vaccine. I think we’ll know in months to come – keeping in mind, I think, the science of Covid has been changing on a near-daily basis.”
Vaccinations are now available for residents age 65 and older, by appointment only. For details on the process via the Florida Patient Portal, call 844-770-8548 or click here.