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New vaccination site opens for military veterans in Tampa

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TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News at 10) – A new COVID-19 vaccination site aimed specifically at veterans is now open in Tampa.

Previously located near the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, vaccination operations moved to the Yuengling Center on the University of South Florida campus on Tuesday. Organizers say the previous site was much smaller and caused a lot of traffic problems. At the new site, space is limited and will better help meet the current goal of vaccinating up to 1,500 people per day, ultimately increasing to 3,500.

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Navy veteran Jatin Sharma said: “It takes forever, so I think it’s really great to get the shot.” Tuesday was a day Sharma had been looking forward to for a long time. “Doing this was important. I could have waited for any date, but I think it was a big decision, not just for me but for my family.

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After hearing that a new vaccination site especially for veterans was opening in Tampa, he drove the two hour drive to Orlando. “The more facilities like this, the better it’s going to be, the faster it’s going to be. It’s just wonderful, ”said Sharma.

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Mara Carrasquillo, Chief of Pharmacy at Veterans Hospital, said: “These are the people who have done so much for all of us and we thank them for the service they have rendered, so veterans are our number one priority. . Carrasquillo says moving the site from the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital to the Yuengling Center will eventually allow them to deliver up to 3,500 hits per day. “The goal for us to move here was to be able to do more. Why? Because we had limits on the parking lot we were in in terms of space, ”Carrasquillo said.

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An additional advantage of the site allows the vaccination of the family and caregivers of veterans registered with the hospital. “We need to vaccinate as many people as possible in order to end this pandemic,” Carrasquillo said.

Sharma says that with just one dose, the second dose means a trip to see loved ones. “I haven’t seen my mom and dad for over a year now, so going back to New York will be great. My son is five, so that matters a lot. Talking on the phone means one thing, but finally meeting them is another. “

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The center also offers vaccines to those who meet state requirements.

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