PONTE VEDRA BEACH (CBSMiami) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday that more Publix locations in the state will start to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.

The state has been working with Publix pharmacies as the vaccine rollout continues.

“We have hospitals doing a lot of vaccinations, community sites, drive-ins, and that’s all good. But Publix is in every community and if you can get it more in every community, it’s going to be easier for people to get the vaccines,” said Gov. DeSantis at an event outside a Publix Super Market in Ponte Vedra Beach.

The expansion with Publix brings the total number of Florida counties providing COVID-19 vaccinations to twelve. They are:

  • Bay County
  • Citrus County
  • Collier County
  • Escambia County
  • Flagler County
  • Hernando County
  • Marion County
  • Okaloosa County
  • St. Johns County
  • Santa Rosa County
  • Volusia County
  • Walton County

Under the state-run program, each participating Publix stores can vaccinate around 125 people per day but you must make an appointment at publix.com/covid-vaccine.

Vaccinations are provided free of charge to eligible individuals, while supplies last. You must be 65 or older and be a Florida resident.

DeSantis said appointments would open Wednesday for shots beginning Thursday.

“The appointments go very quickly so just be forewarned about that.” DeSantis said. “But once they’re out of appointments, that’s just out of appointments for whatever shipment they’re getting. They’re going to be opening them up to do more in the future, so hang in there.”

Publix pharmacies in larger counties, like Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville aren’t getting the vaccine yet because they have larger medical infrastructures, according to DeSantis.

“We looked at counties that were maybe a little bit more medium size, that have a lot of elderly people as a percentage,” he said. “We saw a gap there that we could really get the shots up right now.”

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The number of new COVID-19 cases has been increasing in recent weeks in Florida.

The state has more than one-and-a-half million coronavirus cases and more than 23 thousand deaths.

Since the vaccine rolled out, nearly 600,000 people have received the first dose, according to the state DOH report. Of those who have received at least the first dose, more than 345,000 are over the age of 65.

CBSMiami.com Team