SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota City officials say they expect to vaccinate 4,000 residents who pre-registered during a weekend drive-thru vaccination center at the parking lot of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
The city-run pop-up inoculation center opened bright and early at 8:30am on Saturday. Dozens of vehicles could be seen with happy passengers excited to get their first shot of the Moderna vaccine.
“The real story here is the volunteers,” said Sarasota Mayor Hagen Brody. “The volunteers that have given their time. Medical professionals in our community that has been fighting this pandemic on the front lines and know how important it is to get vaccinations out to the public, for people who want them and need them.”
Among those who turned out the first day was Rev. Richard Lampart. He drove up with his wife. The Lamparts, who are both in their 80′s and still in ministry, were very grateful to have been vaccinated saying that they “hit the jackpot”.
Also on hand for this mass vaccination effort was Dr. Manuel Gordillo, Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Director of Infection Detection and Control.
“It’s our hope that as we vaccinate the numbers will continue to go down. But we need to vaccinate hard, and wide,” said Gordillo.
Mayor Brody said depending on the success of the weekend pop-up vaccination center, the City of Sarasota may hold more temporary mass vaccination sites in the near future.
Vaccines will continue to be distributed through Sunday, Feb 28. This is an appointment-only vaccination event and walk-ups will be turned around. Due to the high traffic volume on US 41 near the Van Wezel allow yourself a little longer to get to downtown Sarasota today.