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Gov. Ron DeSantis announces more Publix stores to offer COVID-19 vaccine

Select Publix stores in nine Florida counties will begin distributing the vaccine this week.

NICEVILLE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the expansion of the Publix vaccine pilot program today in Niceville and Panama City Beach.

After the success of the program rollout in Citrus, Marion, and Hernando counties, vaccines will be available at Publix stores in five more counties in the Florida panhandle; Bay, Walton, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Escambia.

On Wednesday, DeSantis said 56 Publix pharmacies will offer COVID-19 vaccine shots in St. Johns, Flagler, Collier and Volusia counties.

Select stores in the nine counties will be administering between 100 and 125 shots a day starting this Thursday, the governor said. He added that these vaccinations will still only be available by appointment, which residents will be able to book as early as Wednesday.

Gov. DeSantis explained that this is in support of the state's mission to put seniors first in vaccine distribution efforts. He emphasized again that Florida is the only state in the country in which the majority of vaccines have gone to elderly people. The governor also mentioned that the federal government is encouraging other state's to follow Florida's lead in prioritizing seniors.

DeSantis said that Florida received 250,000 doses from the federal government, that will "definitely be given out in the next seven days."

He thanked Publix for stepping up in the vaccine distribution effort and for helping to continue the states momentum in vaccinating more and more residents.

Gov. DeSantis also mentioned his previous suggestion to administer as many first doses of the vaccine as possible, and then make adjustments when the second doses arrive. He added that when President-elect Biden recently suggested the same thing, that he was met with "a little less hostility" than Gov. DeSantis in the media. 

The governor mentioned plans to expand the Publix vaccine program even more as Florida continues to receive more vaccines.

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