Pinellas County leaders ramp up vaccination efforts as state lifts local restrictions

Counties throughout the Bay Area are still adjusting to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order that lifts local restrictions.  

For leaders in Pinellas County – this means putting all energy into helping and encouraging people to get vaccinated.  

"If we don’t see vaccination rates go up, I’m afraid we will see a big spike again in our numbers," Mayor Rick Kriseman told FOX 13 Thursday.  

County leaders say there is a heavy surplus of vaccines and not enough shots are being used. 

In Pinellas -- more than 430,000 people or 44% of the county’s population has been vaccinated --that percentage is higher without children under the age of 16 who are not eligible.  

"We are going to have to partner with people," explained County Administrator Barry Burton during a Thursday meeting with commissioners.  

READ Pinellas County rescinds mask mandate following DeSantis' executive order

Mayor Kriseman and Burton said there will also be a renewed effort to get shots into minority communities that have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.  

"Please, get vaccinated," Kriseman said. "In particular, our communities of color where it’s been slow."

Burton said county health officials are also going to start visiting restaurants and hotels to get shots to their workers.  

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