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It’s about to (hopefully) get easier to get a COVID vaccine at a pharmacy near you

Under the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, Publix, Winn-Dixie and Walmart are set to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses this week.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — More COVID-19 vaccines will be available at more Florida pharmacies this week as the federal government begins shipping doses directly to select retailers.

Walmart and Winn-Dixie will join Publix in offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments under the new Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

This is in addition to other options like getting the vaccine through your local county health department. A statewide pre-registration appointment website for vaccines is now live at myvaccine.fl.gov. However, at this time, not every county is participating. 

Publix

Publix has already been vaccinating seniors 65 and older with doses provided by the state through the Florida Department of Health. It will now receive additional doses directly from the federal government.

The store’s vaccine reservation system will regularly open at 7 a.m. for appointment slots.

Vaccine availability is also expanding from 325 stores in 23 Florida counties to 600 stores in 41 counties.

In the Bay area, in addition to availability in Pasco, Pinellas, Hernando and Citrus counties, starting Wednesday vaccines will also be offered through select stores in:

  • Hillsborough
  • Highlands
  • Polk
  • Manatee
  • Sarasota
  • DeSoto

Specific locations have not yet been announced.

Appointments can only be made online. More information on availability can be found here

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay
In addition to doses provided by the state through Florida Department of Health, Publix will now receive additional doses directly from the federal government.

Walmart (and Sam’s Club)

The governor says 25,000 doses are headed to pharmacies at more than 100 locations in 24 counties across the state.

Administration of those COVID-19 vaccines will start on Feb. 12.

“This is over 30 percent of their total footprint in Florida,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Tuesday. Which is a really, really good start.”

You can find which Walmart pharmacies are administering the vaccine here and the list of Sam's Club pharmacies here. You do not have to be a Sam's Club member to receive the free COVID-19 vaccine.

Except for Manatee and Sarasota, there is at least one Walmart or Sam’s Club location offering the vaccine in every Bay area county.

They are putting an emphasis on locations that reach customers in underserved communities, DeSantis said, hoping to fill in the areas not covered by Publix.

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay
The governor say Walmart locations were chosen to reach customers in underserved communities and areas not covered by Publix.

Winn-Dixie

The grocery store chain has a limited number of select stores where the vaccine will be offered.

You can see the current locations here

Winn-Dixie's parent company Southeastern Grocers Inc. has said that 8,100 Moderna vaccines will be available to eligible candidates for free starting Thursday, Feb. 11.

When appointments do become available at Winn-Dixie, you can book them here.

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay
The grocery store chain has a limited number of select stores where the vaccine will be offered.

Seniors 65 and older continue to be the priority for vaccines in Florida.

“At the end of the day we want to get as much vaccine into the state as possible and get it to our seniors as quickly as possible,” DeSantis said Tuesday.

“As more doses come in we have so many ways you can get that out there and get it into the community.”

CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are not included in this initial rollout of the new federal program.

The program is a collaboration between the federal government, states, and pharmacy partners to increase access to COVID-19 vaccination across the United States. It's part of the government's strategy to expand access to the vaccine and will be implemented incrementally based on the available vaccine supply.

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