LETTER TO THIS EDITOR: FDOH, Lee County announce opening of vaccine reservations this week

LETTER TO THIS EDITOR: FDOH, Lee County announce opening of vaccine reservations this week

To the Editor:

Florida Department of Health and Lee County Government announce opening of vaccine reservations this week

The Florida Department of Health-Lee and Lee County government announced today that there is enough vaccine supply to schedule about 1,800 additional appointments Thursday and Friday, Jan. 14 and 15, at the site near Southwest Florida International Airport for seniors and frontline healthcare workers. After that, there will be no FDOH-Lee vaccine supply remaining this week.

The reservation slots are expected to be claimed quickly, likely within minutes. To schedule one of the estimated 1,800 available appointments, a toll-free number will open at noon Wednesday, Jan. 13. The state’s vendor, Tidal Basin, has made technological and customer-service upgrades in the past week, which necessitates a new phone number. That toll-free number is (866) 200-3468. Please note: The call line will not open until noon Wednesday, Jan. 13. People who inadvertently call last week’s toll-free number will automatically be rerouted to the new number.

Only people with appointments will be vaccinated at the site this week. Many of the appointments this week were allocated to those callers who were in the preregistration group from last week. FDOH-Lee is waiting for information on when and how much vaccine will be available next week. More than 9,000 doses are being administered this week.

The United Way 2-1-1 hotline remains available for general questions about the vaccination rollout. The hotline is not able to help make reservations or handle pre-registration. Residents are asked to refrain from calling United Way with specific questions for the reservation vendor.

Since last week, the vendor outlined steps to increase call capacity and improve the performance of the reservation system, including:

Transitioning to a larger call center platform to provide better customer service and avoid dropped calls/busy signals; updating technology to ensure no callbacks get filtered out as spam and adding a more flexible interactive voice response system for quicker call handling; adding additional live agents to call center operations.

As with the past two weeks, the vaccinations are available for people age 65 and older and frontline healthcare workers at the site east of Interstate 75 off of Daniels Parkway. It’s the site of the old airport terminal parking lot. Message boards are in place to direct traffic.

When those registered arrive on site, officials will request ID showing proof of age before allowing them to queue up. People are asked arrive no more than 45 minutes before their assigned vaccination time. Even though this is an appointment system, processing times may vary. Be prepared for some wait time.

Complete information can be found at leegov.com/vaccine. People can visit Lee County Government Facebook and other social media channels – leegov.com/socialmedia – or monitor Florida DOH’s Twitter @flhealthlee.

Those with reservations can expedite the process by arriving prepared: visit leegov.com/vaccine to read the Moderna vaccination information and to print and complete the consent form.

Social distancing and masks are encouraged; take into account weather conditions. Portable toilets, handwashing stations, drinking water and some chairs will be available. For safety and security, county government and Lee County Sheriff’s Office staff will be on site.

The following will not be permitted: Recreational Vehicles, campers or trailers. Only service animals will be permitted in the vaccination area. This is not a drive-thru site. The site is ADA compliant.

Through last Friday, Jan. 8, more than 20,000 shots had been administered to frontline medical workers and 65-plus seniors by FDOH-Lee, Lee County and the Lee Health System.

Betsy Clayton,

communications director

Lee County