VENICE, Fla. — Tens of thousands of additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are flowing to Florida, and it's allowing Publix to give people more opportunities to make an appointment to get inoculated.
Speaking at a new mass COVID-19 vaccination site in Venice on Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Publix will open an additional appointment window every Monday at 7 a.m.
That will complement current appointment windows on Wednesday and Friday mornings.
"There's a crush of folks that want to get on it," DeSantis said. "This way, you have an opportunity to be able to do it."
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A Publix spokesperson said the grocery store chain booked around 55,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments on Wednesday.
Nearly 600 Publix pharmacies in 41 Florida counties are offering the vaccine. But the process to book an appointment slot has been difficult and frustrating for many senior citizens who are 65 and older.
"They open up this window and everyone rushes to get on, and then an hour later they have tens of thousands of slots that are taken," DeSantis said. "And it's like, if you miss that window, then what? You gotta wait for the next week."
The governor said the addition of a third appointment window on Mondays could change that.
DeSantis added that Florida is due to receive 325,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government this week, which is up from 307,000 doses last week and 266,000 doses that Florida had been receiving weekly before that.
"That puts us in a much, much better spot in terms of vaccine supply than we have been," DeSantis said.
On top of the 325,000 first doses, Florida will receive tens of thousands of additional doses through the Federal Pharmacy Program, the governor said.
That supply will be sent to some Publix pharmacies, as well as 119 Walmart and Sam's Club stores in 34 Florida counties.
"Those are doses in addition to the doses we are already getting," DeSantis said. "Those are doses, tens of thousands of doses direct from [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] that are not a part of the 325,000."
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, 2,057,154 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida, including 1,512,777 seniors 65 and older.
"That is way, way more than any other state by hundreds and hundreds of thousands," DeSantis said.
To make an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Publix, click here.