Troubled University Mall vaccination site moving to Raymond James Stadium Monday

The state-run COVID-19 vaccination site at the University Mall will move over to RayJay by Monday, officials announced.

The last day for vaccinations at the mall will be Saturday. State officials promised all reservations initially made for the mall’s site will be honored at the stadium.

The decision was made after seniors ran into confusion and long lines earlier this month. State emergency management said part of the move is to address those logistics problems.

Mall representatives said vaccine operations are running smoothly and efficiently now, but those days earlier this month were a perfect storm of events.

"The program was operating above the 3,000 vaccinations per day level and moving toward the 4,000-per-day mark. This was not sustainable, considering that non-appointment second vaccinations were kicking into the equation, on a 100-acre commercial site where over 100 businesses are operating daily and over $100 million of construction projects are underway," said Christopher Bowen of RD Management, the company that owns the mall.

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

University Mall is a drive-through, appointment-only site that usually runs best at 1,500 vaccinations a day, he added. 

Raymond James Stadium already hosts a state-run COVID-19 testing site. Florida Division of Emergency Management spokesperson Samantha Bequer said. The relocation will not reduce testing services, Bequer added.
University Mall representatives said they will shift focus to COVID-19 testing instead of vaccines.