FEMA opens mobile COVID-19 vaccination sites to reach underserved communities

ORLANDO, Fla. — Four federally-supported COVID-19 vaccination sites open across Florida Wednesday, but the state is also sending smaller sites straight into underserved communities.

The Englewood Neighborhood Center in East Orlando will be one of the first mobile vaccine sites in the area as part of a new federal program.

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They’re meant to reach people who have transportation issues, or perhaps lack access to a computer, or any number of other barriers to getting the vaccine.

So far, White Americans are getting vaccinated at a much higher rate than Black and Hispanic Americans.

Orange County Commissioner Mayra Uribe says the mobile vaccination sites are the closest thing to offering vaccines door-to-door.

“We want to get into the heart of neighborhoods, where it’s easy to get to where you don’t have to plan an hour trip.”

READ: New FEMA COVID-19 vaccination site in Orlando readies to open for walk-up vaccines

The Englewood Neighborhood site will be in place from March 3 through March 6, as is the case for a site at the St. Cloud Civic Center in Osceola County.

In each case, they’ll give out 500 vaccines a day on a first-come, first-served basis, starting at 9 a.m. and running until 5 p.m.

The FEMA vaccination sites are all walk-up rather than drive-throughs, and are set up indoors.

Although no appointments are necessary, Uribe says they expect a rush, so it’s best to arrive early.

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“I think what we’ve seen is that people get there very early, and they want to make sure they’re in line and they want to make sure they get it.”

Everyone who gets a shot at one of the pop-up sites will also get an appointment for their second dose at the same site.

The satellite sites will shift to Kelly Park in Apopka and the Sebring Ball Field in Highlands County from March 7 to March 10.