Tampa’s first FEMA vaccination site officially opens Wednesday

Four new federally-supported vaccination sites will open Wednesday across the state – one of which is right in Tampa. It’s also one of the first in the country.

Also on Wednesday, teachers who are 50 or older, along with police and firefighters in the same age group, will be eligible for the vaccine, per Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order

According to FEMA, the FEMA site, located at the Tampa Greyhound Track on Waters Avenue, will be able to administer at least 2,000 shots per day and another 500 shots through the mobile unit.

READ: Florida state of the state: DeSantis touts COVID-19 decisions

Officials say the site will help increase the number of people getting vaccinated each day, but leaders say it’s also expanding access to the vaccine to underserved communities.

Experts say it’s crucial now due to the rampant spread of variants. 

Tampa’s new FEMA site will also deploy mobile units to go to those who may be homebound, lack transportation, or live in those underserved communities. 

"We’re really lagging behind in vaccinations of our Black neighbors, of our Latino neighbors and we have to help equal the playing field," said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.

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.

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

Separately, Hillsborough County opened a vaccination site Wednesday that was initially just for health care workers, but officials decided to expand it to include K-12 school employees, firefighters and law enforcement officers who are 50 years or old. 

It will be at the Ed Radice Sports Complex in Tampa.  Appointments can be made by heading to patientportalfl.com.