PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A new mass COVID-19 vaccination site opened on Wednesday at the South Florida Fairgrounds near West Palm Beach.
County leaders officially unveiled the site last week, saying it will be a more centralized location for Palm Beach County residents to receive their shots.
However, you can't just show up and expect to get vaccinated. You must have an appointment.
Currently, the Health Care District of Palm Beach County is scheduling appointments for people on the county health department's waiting list. That means the agency will reach out to you to make an appointment.
Officials said sites like this are the most efficient way to vaccinate a large number of people.
"As much as we want to go out into the communities right now and hit individual pockets, that's really not helping us get to the herd immunity at 70% as quickly as we really need to," said Darcy Davis, the CEO of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. "There is absolutely a place for that, but it's not yet."
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County leaders said the South Florida Fairgrounds site will have the capacity to do 7,000 shots a day, but will start with about 500 to 550 until the supply increases.
"We designed it so that we could do mass vaccination in a centrally located place," Davis said. "We want to make sure that our processes flow like we think, that our technology works. But then we're gonna ramp up fairly quickly."
The Health Care District plans to increase to about 2,000 appointments scheduled on Monday.
"Got my vaccine. Went into a little area to sit down for 15 minutes to make sure there was no effects," said one man who received his shot on Wednesday. "Back in my car, ready to resume life."
Smooth and quick is how several people described the vaccination process at the South Florida Fairgrounds.
"Everybody was so organized in there," said Boca Raton resident Darcy Corsaut. "Clean, it’s quick, they just tell you to go from step to step to step."
The Health Care District advised people to check your emails if you’re currently waiting for an appointment through the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County.
"We will be sending out some emails in the next couple of days that people should look for to ask, do you still want to be on this list?" Davis said. "Because it's very possible that by now people have gotten a vaccine somewhere else and don’t need to be on this list."
Officials said you should report to the same location for your second shot as your first shot, unless you're told otherwise. Health leaders are calling patients to confirm their appointments.
The South Florida Fairgrounds site is expected to operate Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's set up with air conditioned tents where the vaccine will be administered, as well as kiosks to speed up registration.
"I think the flow is gonna be so smooth that I don't anticipate long lines, even inside," Davis said.
Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker said on Tuesday a COVID-19 vaccination site will also be coming to Palm Beach State College on PGA Boulevard.