Floridians 40 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and officials are increasing dose availability at FEMA sites.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – As of Monday, people ages 40 and older in Florida are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and officials say they are increasing the amount of doses available at the federal vaccine site in Tampa.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Officials with the FEMA Covid vaccination site located at the Tampa Greyhound Track say they are now offering 3,000 first doses of Pfizer in addition to the 2,000 second doses they have already been administering. While they say Monday hasn’t been too busy at the site, they expect that to change as the week passes.

49-year-old Tampa Bay resident Edwin Segura says, “I have allergies and asthma but there was no way to get the vaccine sooner, so as soon as I knew the 40’s age was included, I came immediately.”

Segura says getting the COVID-19 vaccine means being able to send his children to in-person school again. He adds, “My daughter, she was sometimes crying and very sad because she cannot go to school. We didn’t want to risk getting COVID-19 so we are really happy we can send her.”

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While he’s glad Florida vaccine eligibility is open to people 40 and up, he’s surprised it happened so quickly. “It was 50’s a short time back, maybe one, maybe two weeks back, and now 40’s, so it seems the process is improving,” said Segura.

Another Tampa Bay resident, Kenia Reyes, says she has “been trying to have it for a long time, so I even thank God for it.”  Reyes is 55 and says she is excited to see the vaccine eligibility opening up to a younger group of people, especially because she is an Uber driver. “For me, it means I’m a little bit more protected.”

Carole Covey works at the Tampa FEMA site and says they are now offering more vaccines. “[We’re] able to do about 5,000 vaccines a day, so we’ve gradually been practicing our process, making sure everything is super fine-tuned.”

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Vaccine eligibility is scheduled to open up to people in Florida, ages 16 and older on April 5, 2021.