TAMPA, Fla — Hillsborough County just opened its first one-stop-shop for all things Covid vaccine and testing.
The location in Progress Village, located at 8710 Progress Blvd. in Tampa, offers free testing, free vaccines, and now, the Pfizer booster shot too.
Dozens of people were already taking advantage of the consolidated services, Monday.
"I think it’s wonderful," Greta Powell said who received her Covid booster vaccine.
Powell was one of many already taking advantage of the free shot on the first day it was being offered at Progress Village Park.
"It gives everybody the opportunity so you can’t say that you couldn’t get it," she said. "It’s available for us."
The site, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, offers free testing, vaccinations, and now the Pfizer booster for those who qualify.
"Neither testing nor vaccinations – you don’t have to have insurance," Hillsborough County’s Office of Emergency Management Deputy Director Inaki Rezola said. "You can be underinsured; you can have no insurance. The services will be provided for free."
As a reminder, only those who’ve gotten the Pfizer vaccine are currently eligible for the booster shots, so far.
Testing is available on a walk-in basis. And, while they would prefer you make an appointment for a vaccine, most locations are excepting walk-ins for that as well.
"I’m very happy because we need it,” Cora Carswell said, also getting a booster shot. "And so many people don’t believe in it, but I do. I just want to be healthy."
So far, the idea seems to be a success.
All things Covid-related under one roof, says healthcare workers, eliminates confusion and hopefully any lingering hesitancy.
"One-stop-shop. Just kind of makes it easier for folks," Kevin Watler, Spokesman for the Florida health Department in Hillsborough County said. "So, someone can just come in there and be able to have easy access to a couple of different services. We’re just trying to ensure the best we can that we are there for the public."
The one-stop-shop idea is also important for workers. Many, still unvaccinated, are now obligated by a growing number of employers – including the City of Tampa - to provide Covid test results on a weekly basis.
"We want to make sure that we have free and accessible testing," Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said.
It’s the same for parents looking for a no-cost testing option to get quarantined kids back to class.
"Ultimately because we want children to be in schools if they’re able to be in school," Watler said. "But we don’t want them to be in school if they’re not feeling well or if they’re sick."
For now, the Progress Village location remains the first and only spot in Hillsborough to provide testing, vaccinations and boosters.
But the county says it will evaluate the success of the location and if demand warrants it, they have already identified other spots scattered strategically throughout Hillsborough where they can quickly provide these same services.