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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The federal government is opening a mass COVID-19 vaccination site at the Tampa Greyhound Track on Waters Avenue near I-275 on March 3, operating 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It will, alongside three others in Florida, be capable of administering about 12,000 shots a day.

Why it matters: FEMA has been working with states to open several large-scale vaccination sites around the country. Florida is one of five states to get a federal site.

Context: Gov. Ron DeSantis was initially negative about President Biden’s idea of using FEMA to build vaccination clinics, calling it a "big mistake." He later said he would help with distribution.

The big picture: The White House said the sites were chosen based on each area’s score on the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index.

What they're saying: Mayor Jane Castor told Axios that the site, near Tampa's Sulphur Springs community, was selected to allow easy access for walk-up vaccinations from an area with many Black residents.

  • "It is absolutely wonderful," Castor said. "We wanted to choose a location ... so we could provide vaccinations to neighborhoods that had the most highly affected COVID-19 populations."

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Feb 21, 2021 - World

America's vaccine rollout has been among the best in the world

America’s much-maligned vaccine rollout is actually going relatively well, at least compared to other wealthy countries.

The big picture: The U.S. has carried out more vaccinations than any country in the world, and given a first dose to a higher percentage of its population (12%) than all but five countries: Israel, the Seychelles, the UAE, the U.K. and Bahrain.

NIH director slams maskless Republicans — helped kill thousands

The politicization of mask wearing during the pandemic may have led to the deaths of "tens of thousands" of Americans because of increased spread of COVID-19, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The evidence was pretty compelling by last March or April that uniform wearing of masks would reduce transmission of this disease. And yet, with a variety of messages through a variety of sources, mask wearing became a statement about your political party or an invasion of your personal freedom."