ORLANDO, Fla. - The CDC is preparing to give several grocery and pharmacy retail stores millions of vaccines.
In Florida, vaccines will go to Walmarts and Winn-Dixies.
Orange County Commissioner Mayra Uribe, who has been vocal about expanding access to the vaccine beyond Publix and county vaccination sites, called the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program a step in the right direction.
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"Winn-Dixies are a little more selective, but Walmart is on every other block," she said. "So, that’s very promising to know that people will be able to get it in their neighborhoods."
Doses will be extremely limited. Walmart has not revealed how many vaccines Florida will get, but Winn-Dixie officials said the chain will only receive about 8,000 for its Florida stores. Both companies have created registration systems, but they are not open yet.
Uribe said they likely won’t open until the stores have vaccines in hand.
To put things in perspective, Orange County only opens up its portal when it knows how many vaccines are available.
"Of course, they don’t want to over-commit and then have people not have vaccines," Uribe said.
Lawmakers hope some of the vaccines given to Walmart and Winn-Dixie end up in Central Florida.
Congressman Darren Soto also wants to see CVS and Walgreens administering the vaccine to the public in retail stores. Though part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, those pharmacies will not get supplies in Florida.
"Publix and Walmart are in many communities but not all. You see when you add both Walgreens and CVS, you expand to many other communities that may not be big enough for a large grocery store," Soto said.
Walmart and Winn-Dixie did not immediately respond to questions about which Florida stores will get vaccines.
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