Hundreds of vehicles have rolled into the parking lot at the University of South Florida’s Yuengling Center as the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Clinics (Tampa VA) and the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County re-opened their COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
Previously staged in a parking lot adjacent to the Tampa VA main hospital, located across USF’s campus on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, the move allows the clinic to serve a larger number of veterans and their family members. The unique partnership between the two agencies enables them to vaccinate non-VA patients using doses provided by the state. USF’s involvement reflects the university’s long-standing commitment to community service and support of veterans in the Tampa Bay area.
“It makes sense for us to combine our resources and skill sets to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible,” said David VanMeter, interim director of James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Clinics. “Since December 2020, we have vaccinated tens of thousands of veterans and employees. This new location will allow us to offer even more protection to their family members now, too, as well as veterans not in our care.”
USF has been a strong community partner throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In April 2020, USF Health partnered with Hillsborough County to established a mass testing site, and deployed volunteers to additional locations across the state. Dozens of students in the College of Public Health signed up as contact tracers to assist the Florida Department of Health in notifying individuals of their potential exposure to COVID-19, while faculty and students across disciplines creatively addressed increased demand for personal protective equipment. Amid the angst and uncertainty, USF has reaffirmed the value of a public research university and the significant role it plays as an urban-grant institution embedded in a vibrant city, serving the Tampa Bay region and state of Florida.
Those eligible to receive a vaccination at the Yuengling Center must meet current Florida state eligibility requirements and belong to one of these categories:
- Veterans who are not enrolled in or eligible for VA health care (not VA patients)
- Family members of veterans currently receiving care at VA (VA patients)
- Family members of veterans not enrolled in or eligible for VA health care
- Family members of VA staff
- USF ROTC cadets (active CAC not required)
Vaccinations are available by appointment only. Those eligible to receive the vaccine can schedule an appointment at Tampa VA’s EventBrite page.