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Tampa's new FEMA vaccine site accepts walk-ups if you can't schedule an appointment ahead of time

Appointments are strongly encouraged, but FEMA officials say they will have a separate line for walk-ups.

TAMPA, Fla. — The federally-run COVID-19 vaccination site at the Tampa Greyhound Track opens Wednesday to eligible people with appointments.

FEMA officials say they will allow people without appointments to get in line, too.

However, it is strongly encouraged you register ahead of time. Floridians who are currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can pre-register on myvaccine.fl.gov or call the phone number designated for your county

For those unable to make a reservation online or by phone, there will be a separate line at the site where you can walk up and register for an appointment. 

But if you show up without registering ahead of time, you're not guaranteed a shot that day.

If all slots are full, FEMA officials say you will have to make an appointment to come back on a different day.

RELATED: Where to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida

The Tampa site is one of four federally-run mass vaccination sites across Florida. They are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day and can administer up to 2,000 shots each day. But unlike other sites, they are not a drive-thru. You will have to get out of your car to get your vaccine.

Several federally-run "satellite sites" will also offer vaccines:

➡️ Larry Sanders Sports Complex
5855 S. 78th St.
Tampa, FL 33619
Operating March 3-6

➡️ Hillsborough Community College - Brandon Campus
10451 Nancy Watkins Drive
Tampa, FL 33619
Operating March 7-10

➡️ Lake Maude Park
1751 7th St. NE.
Winter Haven, FL 33881
Operating March 3-10 

The smaller satellite sites will be able to complete up to 500 vaccinations a day, according to FEMA.

“This is an all hands on deck moment, and we are all working together to make sure everyone who wants a vaccine can get a vaccine as soon as possible,” said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Florida, whose congressional district includes the Tampa site.

Castor said these new FEMA-supported sites were chosen to facilitate a more equitable distribution of vaccines.

“That’s why the Sulphur Springs Tampa greyhound site is so important, in the heart of Tampa, in an area where there aren’t a lot of grocery stores or pharmacies and many of neighbors do not have transportation,” she said.

RELATED: Am I eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida?

Currently, the only people eligible to receive the vaccine in Florida are health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, and people age 65 and older, according to the Department of Health. 

On Feb. 26, Gov. Ron DeSantis added people under 65 deemed "extremely vulnerable" to COVID-19 by a physician to the list of those eligible to get the shot. 

The Florida Division of Emergency Management later announced that individuals that fall under that category can receive a shot at the new Tampa federal site. 

You'll need to present a signed Florida Department of Health form which you can find here.  

Effective March 3, teachers, firefighters and law enforcement officers who are age 50 and older will also be eligible.

If you fall into one of these categories, here's where you can book an appointment.

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