VENICE — Gov. Ron DeSantis made an appearance in Venice on Wednesday at the first of three days of drive-thru vaccination clinics at the Venice Community Center.

He teased news coming for Charlotte County during his press conference while boasting his administration’s response to COVID-19 through the last year.

He said an increase in the federal allocation of vaccine from 307,000 doses to 325,000 doses allowed him to provide more to the Department of Health-Sarasota as part of the state’s Seniors First program, in which people 65 and older are eligible for vaccination.

“We’re putting our parents and grandparents first,” he said.

Sarasota County was lagging behind others in the percentage of seniors who had been vaccinated, he said.

More vaccine will allow the local department to catch up.

The county will be getting 7,000 doses a week instead of 3,300, he said.

Some of that allocation will be used for the Venice clinics, the first in South County. Appointments are being set through the department’s registration system.

City Council Member Nick Pachota, who is on duty as a member of the state health team, said he hopes that more South County clinics will be held if the ones set for this week go well.

People being vaccinated in Venice are getting the Pfizer vaccine.

They’ll return to the Community Center for their second dose in three weeks, DeSantis said.

Publix is now making appointments for vaccinations in the county, he said. A total of 22 stores in the county, including five in Venice, will be administering shots beginning Friday.

The company is changing its appointment system by scheduling one-hour blocks to make it more fair, the governor said.

Walmart is also preparing to perform vaccinations but not yet at any stores in Sarasota County. DeSantis said his office is working with the company to get the county included.

He ended his appearance by saying that he’d have a big announcement regarding Charlotte County on Thursday.


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