First Bay Area FEMA vaccine site opens Wednesday in Tampa

Staring Wednesday, public school employees, police officers and firefighters who have been waiting months for a COVID-19 vaccine shot will finally get their turn.

Officials are urging everyone who is eligible to sign up for an appointment, which now includes firefighters, law enforcement officers, or 50+ K-12 school employees.

"We made the request to FEMA to try and do more shots in arms in our underserved and our minority neighborhoods so Florida will be the first state in the nation doing what's called at 'hub and spoke' model," Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said.

MORE: US will have enough COVID-19 vaccines for all adults by end of May, Biden says

He said the FEMA-supported site at the Tampa Greyhound Track on Waters Avenue will also include mobile units, which means people who may not have transportation or who may be home-bound will still have access to the shot as well as previously underserved minority groups.

"We are in a race against time because we still have significant spread. We have variants," Congresswoman Kathy Castor said. "We are really lagging behind in the vaccinations of our Black neighbors, of our Latino neighbors, and we have to help equal the playing field."

LINK: COVID-19 vaccine distribution information in Tampa Bay area counties

According to FEMA, the site will be able to administer at least 2,000 shots per day and another 500 shots through the mobile unit.

Starting Thursday, an additional line will be created for walk-ups for people without a computer or phone access. Even if you're not eligible, Castor says you can still help.

"Make the effort to take care of your older neighbors. A lot of them don't have a computer they can log on and sign up for a website so they're going to need a little help," Castor said.

Appointments will be available through pre-registration at myvaccine.fl.gov.