In the final days of 2020, people in Florida 65 and older began receiving their first shots of the coronavirus vaccine, but when and where those doses became available have varied from county to county.
As of Dec. 28, Florida was vaccinating only three priority groups: Health care workers, long-term care facility staff and residents and people 65 or older. The health care group includes EMTs and paramedics as well as Department of Health staff.
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Gov. Ron DeSantis said all 67 Florida counties will have either Moderna or Pfizer vaccines by Jan. 1. The vaccines will be handed over to local health departments and hospitals to distribute within their communities.
“This week, Florida will receive over 120,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and will distribute these doses to hospitals and county health departments that have not previously received the vaccine,” DeSantis said. “As a result, all 67 Florida counties will have received doses of the vaccine by the end of the week. Florida is also receiving over 118,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to begin administering the second dose of this vaccine at the original five pilot hospitals.”
Residents who are among the first priority groups should check their local health department websites for information on appointments and where inoculations are occurring.
As the state receives more doses, more individuals will qualify among the first vaccine priority groups. Next up will be frontline workers, such as grocery store employees, teachers and police, according to DeSantis.
Seminole County became the first site in Central Florida to begin administering shots to people 65 and older but appointments for the first day quickly filled up.
All vaccine Florida sites are open to anyone in the priority groups regardless of state or county residency.
Floridians are asked to be patient as county health departments roll out vaccination plans for millions of residents who meet the age qualifications. The state is home to more than 4 million people 65 and older.
The vaccine is not expected to be available to the general population, including younger residents or non-frontline workers, until late spring.
***UPDATE: As of Dec. 30, all appointments for Brevard, Osceola, Orange and Seminole counties were full. Health department officials plan to announce when they can open more appointments in the near future.**
As of Dec. 31, the following counties in Central Florida have shared information to help people register for appointments and get more information on vaccine availability. This story will be updated as more counties release vaccination plan details.
Brevard County | Appointment only
Brevard County is inoculating frontline healthcare workers and residents and staff of long term care facilities and will begin vaccinating people 65 and older on Jan. 4.
People who qualify under these priority groups must make an appointment. As of Dec. 30 all appointments were full. The county plans to reopen the registration portal soon.
The county opened a phone line on Dec. 29 for appointments but a day later switched to an online registration system due to demand. Appointments previously made by phone will still be honored. Here is the link to register online.
The vaccine site will be a drive-thru located at 2555 Judge Fran Jamieson Way in Viera.
Vaccinations will be provided between the hours of 8:30-11:30 a.m. beginning Jan. 5, and will continue for morning appointments through Friday and then Monday through Friday through the end of January. Afternoon appointments previously made by phone, will begin Monday Jan. 4, and continue Monday through Friday from 1:15 to 4:15 p.m. until further notice.
A driver’s license or healthcare badge is required at the time of the appointment.
Brevard Public School officials said the district will work with staff over 65 and healthcare specialists who work with students to make sure they have the time needed to get vaccinated.
People are asked to review the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet. Residents are also asked to bring the COVID-19 vaccine consent form and the facts and privacy form.
Flagler County | Appointment only
The Florida Department of Health in Flagler County received its first round COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 28 and is working with Flagler County Emergency Management to finalize distribution.
Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said doses in this initial shipment have been earmarked specifically for healthcare providers in our community. It is anticipated that other priority groups, particularly those over the age of 65, can begin to receive vaccinations in the coming weeks, as additional doses are delivered.
Healthcare professionals who do not work directly for a hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility can receive the vaccination Saturday, Jan. 2 at a one-day event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Flagler County Fairgrounds in Bunnell.
Flagler County residents 65 and older will be able to make appointments to be vaccinated starting in early January. Once the county is ready to start making reservations for those residents it will share a phone number. The timing will depend on when the health department receives the next allotment of vaccine but possibly as early as Jan. 4.
Lake County | Appointment only
Lake County will begin vaccinating people over 65 on Dec. 30 at two locations. Vaccines are free but appointments were required for the first few days.
There are two locations for the vaccines: the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center at 3700 S. Highway 27 and Lake Sumter College on U.S. 441.
Both locations are open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Vaccine immunizations will be available to seniors by appointment only at Clermont Arts and Recreation Center. Walk-ups will not be accepted.
Please bring identification and, if you are a health care worker, a copy of your medical license, ID badge or a current paystub.
Scheduled appointments at the Cooper Library, which was open prior to Friday but has since closed, will be honored at the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center beginning Jan. 1.
Lake County health officials said on Friday that only previously scheduled appointments were being honored at the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center for Friday and Saturday.
Officials with the Florida Department of Health in Lake County said on Friday they are not sure when the next shipment of vaccines will arrive, but once they do have them, they will inform the community. Officials said when they receive the second shipment, all immunization sites will be walk-in.
“The Florida Department of Health in Lake County is no longer scheduling COVID-19 immunization appointments but will honor previously scheduled appointments,” a news release from Lake County officials read. “Currently, the Florida Department of Health is only distributing the first dose. Persons who have received their first dose will be contacted to complete the two-dose series.”
Once the sites start operating first-come-first-serve people over 65 will need to present identification and frontline workers will need to present a copy of their medical license, employee badge or current paystub.
For more information about vaccine sites in Lake County click here.
Marion County | Appointment only
The Department of Health in Marion County is slated to receive its first shipment of COVID-19 Moderna vaccine for residents ages 65 and older during the last week of December.
To request a vaccination appointment, go to this link https://tinyurl.com/y98cxp6s and complete the form. For those without access to a computer or smart phone, call the Marion County COVID-19 hotline at 352-644-2590 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and staff will submit the form online for you.
Once eligible residents submit their information on DOH-Marion’s website, they will be placed in line for a call-back by staff to set an appointment. Staff will call to schedule a vaccination appointment as vaccine becomes available.
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is a 2-shot series, with the second shot being provided 28 days after the first shot.
Orange County | Appointment only
The Orange County Department of Health began administering shots to EMTS and paramedics at the Orange County Convention Center on Dec. 26.
Beginning Dec. 29, people 65 and older can begin getting their vaccines at the Orange County at the Convention Center between 8 a.m. and 9 pm. Appointments are required.
This vaccine location is also open to people who live outside of Orange County.
Residents can register at OCFL.net/vaccines where they can also sign up for email updates to learn more about vaccine distribution. Here is the direct link to register.
After the first day the online registration portal was closed after more than 30,000 appointments were made within 24 hours. The county department of health has not yet announced when it will reopen the portal.
“At this time, the Department is closing the CDR HealthPRO portal to further appointments,” an email from the Orange County DOH read. “The Department will provide an update when the system reopens.”
The County will also provide updates via text if people text OCFLCOVID to 888777.
For those without smart phones or computers, community centers will also offer registration for the vaccine. The East Orange, Taft, Holden Heights and Center Hills community centers will have staff available to help people 65 and older register for vaccine appointments. Within the city of Orlando, the Beardall Senior Center on Delaney Avenue and L. Claudia Allen Senior Center on Mable Butler Avenue will be available to help residents register.
This link has step-by-step registration instructions.
Osceola County | Appointment only
The Florida Department of Health in Osceola County received its first allocation of the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 28.
As of Dec. 30, all appointments were full. The county plans to reopen registration soon.
Persons 65 years and older and health care personnel interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccination may call 407-343-2000 to register. Once connected, callers should follow the prompts to receive more information on COVID-19 and remain on the line for the next available agent.
Due to call demand, the county also added an email option to register. Residents can email [email protected] and put “Vaccine” in the subject line. In the body of the email include your full name and phone number.
People who register will have the option to receive updates on vaccine availability via email. Health department staff will call to schedule appointments based on vaccine availability.
Osceola is coordinating with Osceola County Emergency Management and community partners to offer community-based and mass vaccination clinics as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more readily available. Residents should continue to check osceola.floridahealth.gov for updates.
The department’s COVID-19 call center is available 24/7 at 1-866-779-6121 or via email at [email protected]
Polk County | TBD
The Florida Department of Health in Polk County has not yet provided its plans.
“At this time, we are currently developing a plan for distribution as quickly as possible that meets the requirements of the governor’s executive order. As more doses become available, we will be working with our community partners to notify the community when the COVID-19 vaccine will become available,” a department spokeswoman said.
Seminole County | Appointment only
The Seminole County Office of the Emergency Management in conjunction with the health department began administering shots to people 65 and older on Dec. 28 by appointment only at the Oviedo Mall. Health care workers can also go to this site for the vaccine.
People can make an appointment by going to prepareseminole.org or by calling the citizens’ hotline at 407-665-0000 or go directly to Eventbrite to book an appointment. However, all appointments are currently booked as of Dec. 31 but people can continue to check back on the Eventbrite for cancellations until more appointments become available.
This vaccine location is open to people who live outside of Seminole County and the criteria were recently expanded to include non-hospital health care workers.
Residents can also text COVID19INFO to 888-777 to receive notifications when the vaccine becomes available to more groups and/or when more appointments are available.
Sumter County | Appointment only
Sumter County received 2,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine the week of Dec. 30. Those doses will first go to medical workers who will inoculate the rest of the community and those caring for COVID-19 patients.
The Sumter County Health Department will offer a “small block of appointments” at the Bushnell office to vaccinate people 65 and older. Appointments can be made starting Jan. 4 by calling 352-569-3102. Before signing up residents are asked to review the pre-vaccination checklist provided by the CDC. Officials did not disclose how many appointments would be available.
The county is planning a “mass vaccination event” at a future date but could not provide details. The health department estimates there are about 130,000 people in the county who are eligible for priority vaccinations and it will need more doses before that can happen.
Volusia County | No appointments required
Volusia County has been vaccinating health care workers as well as long term care facilities but will begin inoculating people 65 and older on Jan. 4.
The first drive-through vaccination clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Jan. 4 and 5 at Daytona Stadium at 3917 LPGA Boulevard.
There are no appointments necessary but vaccine supply is limited and will be offered first come, first serve. Vaccinations are free.
Those who come to the stadium for a vaccine must bring a photo ID. Individuals also will be required to complete a medical screening form and sign an informed consent form before receiving a vaccination.
People who have had COVID-19 in the past two weeks or had a COVID-19 vaccine shot in the past two weeks will not be eligible to receive a vaccine at this event.
Only the Moderna vaccine will be provided at this initial community vaccination event which requires a second dose 28 days after the first shot. DOH-Volusia will return to this location in 28 days to offer the second dose to those who are due.
Prior to receiving a vaccination, individuals will receive the Moderna Fact Sheet on the Emergency Use Authorization and information on what to expect during and after the injection. Individuals are encouraged to contact their primary care provider with questions about whether they should receive the vaccine before presenting to a vaccination site.
After receiving a vaccination, recipients will be required to remain on site for 15-30 minutes for medical monitoring.
Future vaccination dates in several locations across the county will be based on vaccine availability. Notifications will be provided to the news media. Information also will be posted online at Volusia.org/coronavirus.
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