The Florida Department of Health in Martin County opened its newest vaccination site Tuesday at a vacant storefront in the Treasure Coast Square Mall.
Working with Martin County Emergency Management, county health leaders said the new location will better serve the community in the future compared to the drive-thru events.
“It’s getting warmer outside and we’re getting some higher temperatures and some rain so that drive-thru service really isn’t going to work out for us, especially going into hurricane season,” said Martin County Emergency Management Director Sally Waite.
The health department is offering the vaccine by appointment only in the former HHGregg location between Ruby Tuesday and Forever 21 at the north end of the mall. All clients will access the clinic from the parking lot and walk inside to receive their vaccination, according to the health department.
Vaccinations will be offered Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. by appointment for residents 65 and older and health care personnel with direct patient contact. Pre-registration is available by visiting the website myvaccine.fl.gov. Those without internet access can call 1-866- 201-7037.
Waite said about 200 people were vaccinated Tuesday.
“We anticipate with our current vaccine allocation weekly that we can do about 400 per day,” Waite said.
As vaccine allotments increase, Carol Ann Vitani, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Martin County, said the mall location will better accommodate more daily vaccinations.
“One positive thing about going to the mall, as vaccine becomes plentiful, we can vaccine 1,000 people per day, easily,” Vitani said.
This is important as the state looks forward to receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccines to add to county doses.
Waite said the county wants to vaccinate as many seniors as possible before Governor Ron DeSantis opens vaccines to younger populations, possibly later this month.
"We are sticking strong to trying to get everyone vaccinated that we can over the age of 65, but we also know there’s so many more people out there that need the vaccine, so we’ll just do the best we can,” Waite said.
Vitani said Martin County’s senior vaccination rate is above the state average.
“We’re at 59% as of yesterday which is excellent,” she added.