Amid J&J pause, Florida’s FEMA sites will be stocked with Pfizer next week
First-dose Pfizer shots will be available next week at federally run mass-vaccination sites in four of Florida’s most populous cities — including at Valencia College in Orlando.
The sites, which had transitioned to Johnson & Johnson shots before a national pause earlier this week, had only been administering previously scheduled second doses of Pfizer there since.
It’s unclear precisely how many shots will be available, said Samantha Bequer, a spokesperson for the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
“The state is continuing to work with FEMA to determine first dose capacity under the change in vaccine brands,” she said in an email. “Right now, we anticipate first dose capacity will be lower than the 3,000 doses the site was previously administering.”
Sites in Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami will also be getting the shots, she said.
As of now, the four sites are expected to close on May 26. But the Pfizer vaccine requires at least 21 days between the necessary two doses. Bequer said the state will ensure second doses are available.
“The state and FEMA are committed to ensuring that all individuals who receive their first dose at
a federally-supported vaccination site are able to receive their second dose,” she wrote.
These federal sites don’t take appointments for first doses.
The Valencia College West Campus site was chosen by federal officials in part because of its location near communities that score highly on the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index, which measures an area’s resiliency to things like disease outbreaks.
Last week the site began giving thousands of Johnson & Johnson shots daily, rapidly increasing the region’s vaccinated population. But the pause caused the site to stop using the shot, as well as other state-run mobile sites, stood up in underserved communities. Vaccination rates sorted by ZIP codes, released by Orange County this week, revealed neighborhoods with majority Black and Hispanic residents — some even near these vaccination sites — still had lower rates than majority-white neighborhoods.