ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The pace of vaccinations is ticking upward in Florida as the delta variant drives up the demand for shots. As of Friday, a new program offering at-home vaccines had booked more than 400 appointments since it launched on Monday.
Pharmacy technician Ledsiel Garcia gave Judith Landis her vaccination card inside her Saint Petersburg apartment on Friday following her first dose of the vaccine. Landis, who is in her 70s, now has to wait 21 days for her second dose.
"I’ve been trying to get this vaccination for so long," she told FOX 13 from her bed.
Landis is one of more than 400 people in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties this week who rushed to book a house call from DeliveRxd Pharmacy.
"This is a lot more (appointments) than I expected," said pharmacy owner William Parker.
He's now scrambling to hire more vaccinators and keep up with demand.
"If we get eight vaccinators on the road we should be able to knock out about 120 patients a day."
He currently has two full-time vaccinators but says he's gotten a lot of inquiries from nurses, paramedics and other medical professionals.
The rising demand reflects a wider trend happening across Florida. After dropping steadily for months, COVID-19 vaccinations are on the rise again as infections surge.
"I have connections with hospitals in my background and I’m talking to nurses and the units are overflowing with patients with COVID," Parker said, "and the vast majority of them are unvaccinated."
In the week ending Wednesday, nearly a quarter-million Floridians got their first vaccine dose. That number is up roughly 59 percent from two weeks earlier.
"We have some patients who just haven’t had access to the vaccine, wheelchairs, homebound just unable to, no transportation," Parker explained.
The other half of new vaccinations, he says, are people getting off the fence before it's too late.
"They finally decided at this point we probably need to go forward with a vaccination," Parker stated.
DeliveRxd Pharmacy's vaccine house calls are available at no cost to anyone who is eligible, regardless of whether patients are home-bound. Appointments can be made by calling 813-932-6266. People can also call that number to find out about their available positions or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.