COVID-19 vaccination ‘pod’ opens in Sun City Center

In a visit to Sun City Center, Florida’s governor announced a community COVID-19 vaccination "pod" opened, and will be available for those 65 and older for five days.

"We call these things pods," Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday at the Sun City Center Community Hall. "Basically, bringing vaccines where there is a high concentration of elderly folks."

DeSantis said the Sun City Center Community Association is coordinating with seniors living in the area and will administer 1,000 doses over the next five days. The pod is a drive-through site.

"You see golf carts and cars," the governor described. "You can do either one."

To get a reservation, residents can call one of the following phone numbers: (813) 642-2001 or (813) 642- 2013.

You can view Gov. Ron DeSantis' full press conference below:

This week, DeSantis has been assuring seniors they will get a second dose of the vaccine as frustrations have grown nationally over the supply of the life-saving medicine. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that states would get a roughly 16% increase in deliveries over the coming weeks, including more than 424,000 in the U.S. and 25,600 in Florida.

The rise in shipments translates to 307,000 first doses and 254,000 booster shots for Florida, according to the state health department.

Of the more than 1.4 million in Florida who have gotten shots, less than 11% have gotten their second dose, according to the latest records provided by the state Health Department. That means more than a million people — most of them at least 65 years old — are coming due for the second of two shots required to achieve the highest level of efficacy against the disease.

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That day, DeSantis escalated the dispute with the White House over how many unused vaccines the state had on hand. The governor said the state is at the mercy of the federal government.

"We’re not going to divert second doses away from seniors. Seniors want it, we’re going to do it," DeSantis said Tuesday. "So if the implication is you should be giving those doses away to other people, that’s not the way the FDA has prescribed it."

While at Sun City Center Community Hall, he continued to emphasize his "senior first" approach.

"We got to get through the seniors before we get to the younger healthier people."

He said a similar pod will open in Osceola County on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.