Sarasota Department of Health looking to expand vaccines for businesses

Sarasota Department of Health looking to expand vaccines for businesses
People 18 and up line up for COVID vaccine at Sarasota Square Mall.

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - On Monday, the state expanded eligibility for vaccines to anyone who is 18 and up. Also, starting Friday, there’s no need for an appointment to get a shot from the Sarasota County Health Department. Now, health officials are looking at distributing vaccines to some businesses.

“We’re shy of 200,000 people receiving at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Steve Huard, public information officer for Sarasota County Health Department.

Dozens of people filled up the line at the first dose clinic at Sarasota Square Mall on Thursday.

“That’s really phenomenal,” said Huard.

In order to get more people vaccinated, the health department is looking to partner with local businesses.

“What we’re doing is working with businesses in the community that we have already established close pod agreements with,” he said. “So that means we can virtually issue the vaccines and they can provide it to their staff and employees.”

“We’re glad to hear the county is trying to get close to the people,” said Fernando Yengle.

He’s the owner of Nando’s Cafe, located on Beneva Road in Sarasota, and he says he made it a priority for his employees to get vaccinated.

“It’s important to get the vaccine, that’s the way to stop the pandemic,” said Yengle.

The county’s health department is currently partnered with bigger businesses, such as the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. They’re also looking into catering to smaller businesses that need help.

“What we would hope that businesses do before they call us, try to find out how many of their employees would like to receive the vaccine at the business location,” said Huard.

To contact the Sarasota County Health Department, you can call 941-861-2900.

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