University Mall vaccination site and Raymond James Stadium testing location swap roles

Earlier in the year, the vaccination site at the University Mall was plagued with long lines and frustration, but the state-run site will have a new home in Hillsborough County to address those issues.

Starting Monday, the site will be at Raymond James Stadium. In exchange, the COVID-19 testing site at the stadium will move over to the mall on Tuesday. Health officials said those who had vaccination appointments at the University Mall will still have those appointments honored at RayJay.

The vaccination site can be found in Lot 14, located on the northeast side of the stadium off of Himes Avenue.

The main reason for the switch is officials will be able to give out more vaccinations at this location, they said. They’re also hoping to avoid some of the traffic issues they were running into at the University Mall location.

The state said the University Mall site had some logistical problems and limitations when it comes to the vaccination effort. At times, it resulted in long lines, long wait times, and restrictions on just how many people that site could accommodate each day.

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"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.

The trouble really started when the site began administering second doses because they hadn’t explained to people how second dose appointments would actually work -- everyone just showed up at once, creating a chaotic and frustrating scene.

To fix some of those issues, the state scaled back the number of appointments they could take each day at the University Mall, but it was not an ideal fix, which is why they’re now moving the site to RayJay.

By switching locations, the state says it expects to be able to administer 3,200 shots a day -- more than double the number of doses they were able to give in a day at the University Mall location.

This means the COVID-19 testing site at RayJay will now move to the University Mall. It will be up and running there by Tuesday, March 2, officials said.