Seventeen Walmart and Sam’s Club locations in Orange County will be able to vaccinate up to 300 people per day under a partnership announced this month between major retailers and the White House, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said Monday.
The department store is one of three companies doing injections in Florida under the program, details of which have so far been scant. Demings’ comments provided the most specific information yet revealed on the local impact of the operation that will begin this week.
The potential of approximately 5,100 injections per day across the county would significantly boost vaccination efforts in a county where about 2,500 daily injections are administered at the Orange County Convention Center.
“All of those types of community partners, as they connect, will increase the vaccine inventory in our community,” Demings said, adding that he looked forward to knowing when they will be available soon. “These will be types of Walmart from local neighborhoods.”
The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, announced last week by the Biden Administration, is expected to ship about 1 million doses per week to well-known chains across the country. The show was expected to start taking gun shots as early as Thursday, though it’s unclear when stores will start in Florida.
Winn-Dixie’s parent company Southeastern Grocers said it plans to offer 8,100 shots of Moderna through its three Florida chains starting Thursday. Publix is also involved, but it is unclear which locations will be involved and how many vaccines will be available.
The federal program in Florida will adopt the same requirements that the state already uses on its own sites, so to qualify, you must be 65 or older, or be a frontline healthcare worker or resident or staff member to long term. term care center.
Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The race to vaccinate enough people to achieve herd immunity has taken on a new urgency as the highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 is spreading across the state and nation. Now, 10 Orange residents have tested positive, though officials suspect the mutation is more widely spread, believed to be at least 50% more transmissible than others.
The county has reported 1,002 deaths from COVID-19.
“That’s a sad number,” Demings said. “Some people said that this virus was no worse than the common flu. Now we know something different. “
While the vaccines appear to be resistant to variant B.1.1.7, future mutations could reduce the protection the injection offers, said Alvina Chu, manager of the epidemiology program for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.
“Basically, we are in a wildfire with a really good vaccine, which is our fire hose,” Chu said. “Containing the spread is what will help us control the pandemic.”
Chu said state health data shows that about 39% of Orange County’s population 65 and older has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Of the 10 cases of the UK variant here, only one had known international travel, he said, although two attended large gatherings, underscoring the importance of avoiding crowded venues.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 690 cases of the strand reported nationwide, with 201 in Florida, the most of any state.
To prevent the spread of this strand, health experts say that people should not treat it differently from other strands – wear face covers, practice good hygiene, and avoid crowded areas.
Overall, transmission of the virus is slowing in Central Florida after the region had several weeks of double-digit positivity rates.
In Orange, 7.25% of tests came back positive last week, marking the fourth consecutive week of decline. While at Osceola, 7.33% of tests were positive, a sixth consecutive decline, at Seminole, where positive rates have declined for five consecutive weeks, 8.26% were positive. And in Lake, 9.54% was positive last week, down for five weeks in a row.
Seminole health officials said Monday they plan to increase their partnerships with local religious organizations, including churches, synagogues and mosques, as part of the county’s efforts to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to more residents.
County spokeswoman Andrea Wontor said some people may feel more comfortable receiving a vaccine if it is offered to them at their place of worship, and they see their pastor or religious leader assuring them that it is safe.
It is also an effort to reach residents of all county communities, including those with residents who may not have transportation to the Oviedo Mall, the county’s mass vaccination site.
“For many, it is much easier when the vaccine reaches their community,” Wontor said.
On Monday, health officials administered vaccinations at the Church of the Believers of the East Coast in Oviedo. Next week, vaccinations will be given at a Spanish-speaking church in Apopka and in the historic black community of Bookertown near Sanford.
Residents can find more information at seminolecountyfl.gov or by calling 407-665-0000.
In Orange, tourist tax collections increased in December, the eighth consecutive monthly increase since the pandemic pushed the tourism industry to “bottom out,” Comptroller Phil Diamond said Monday.
Collections for the month were $ 10.5 million, “an encouraging sign,” according to Diamond, but less than any pre-pandemic monthly total since September 2010 and the lowest December collection since 2005.
“It was positive, which is good, but it’s still not where it should be,” Diamond said.
The collection of tourist taxes is a sign of the health of the tourism industry because it reflects hotel occupancy. The streak of rising growth is likely to end when the January figures are released next month, Diamond said.
“Overall, January is not as robust a month [for tourism] as December,” Diamond said, noting that December has extended vacation time for families to take vacations and COVID-19 infections were below. double digits for most of the month.
Visit Orlando reported that December pickups were boosted by the Christmas and New Years holiday period, which averaged 50.1% occupancy from December 26-31, including 63% on New Years Eve, the rate of Highest day occupancy since the pandemic began.
Here are the Walmart and Sam’s Club locations scheduled to begin offering vaccines in Orange under the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, according to county officials:
- 11920 Narcoossee Rd
- 7810 W. Colonial Dr.
- 7701 E. Colonial Dr
- 2500 S. Kirkman Rd.
- 5991 S. Goldenrod Rd.
- 1101 S. Goldwyn Rd.
- 11930 Narcoossee Rd.
- 3101 W. Princeton St.
- 201 S. Chickasaw Trail
- 9047 Curry Ford Rd.
- 7818 W. Colonial Dr.
- 5511 Deep Lake Rd.
- 2715 S. Orange Ave.
- 11250 E. Colonial Dr.
- 902 Lee Rd.
- 2271 N. Semoran Blvd.
- 13801 Landstar Blvd.
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