Two Publix stores in Monroe County will begin vaccinating seniors and other eligible groups later this week. That’s according to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who announced Tuesday morning that Publix stores in Key West and Islamorada will begin vaccinating those who make appointments online.

Eligible groups include adults aged 65 and older, health care personnel with direct patient contact and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. 

Those eligible can make their online reservations on Wednesday beginning at 6 a.m. Vaccinations will take place on Thursday. 

Appointments cannot be made by calling Publix or the Publix pharmacy. 

“The way Publix is doing it I think is the right way. It’s by appointment only, so don’t just show up,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Jupiter. “They have a process for this. It’s been very orderly and very easy.

“If you show up unannounced, they’re just going to simply give you the information how to sign up,” he continued. 

Maria Brous, Publix director of communications, told the Weekly appointments for those signing up on Wednesday will be for Thursday and Friday. The system will then go back up on Friday for appointments on Saturday, Sunday and into next week.

“We’re trying to make sure that we’re spacing out the amount of people who are trying to come through and make appointments. When they go on for tomorrow, appointments will be for Thursday and Friday only. Then on Friday, we’ll open up appointments for Saturday, Sunday and into next week.”

Bob Eadie, health officer for Monroe County, said following the announcement that any chance to expand locations for COVID vaccines is a “very good thing.” Eadie acknowledged that he was hoping for more vaccines, but had no idea they were coming so soon. Around 500 vaccines will be going to the two Publix locations in Monroe County, Eadie said. 

“We’re assured there will be a steady supply by the state emergency management of the doses,” Eadie said. “I think it’s a very positive step in continuing to get vaccines to the citizens of Monroe County.”

With vaccines being distributed, a state-run website still awaits launch so people can make vaccine appointments. Eadie said vaccine allocations and the online reservation site the state’s looking to launch are not under the control of Monroe County, but rather state emergency management.

“The priorities are established out of Tallahassee for vaccine allocations and for internet and call bank support. I keep getting a promise every day that it’s on its way, but that’s the best I can tell you right now.”

A total of 181 Publix pharmacies across 15 counties in Florida are providing vaccines to seniors. Visit for more information. 

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