STAFF REPORT – Inquiries regarding where to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus have been overwhelming in the state this week, with Tidal Basin, the state’s call-center vendor for COVID-19 vaccinations for seniors and front-line medical workers, receiving more than 10,000 phone calls in 11 minutes when its new reservation line openeda. There are some places in Lee and Charlotte counties where the vaccination is available (other than the Boca Grande Health Clinic), but your chance of getting an appointment to receive one are slim.
The Florida Department of Health-Lee and Lee County announced that next week’s allocation of vaccinations at the current site will be used for those additional callers, most of whom now have been pre-registered by the vendor.
According to Betsy Clayton, Lee County’s communications director, the phone line for reservations is currently closed and remains closed; residents are asked to not dial the call center. The state and county will announce when additional vaccine doses are available and the line reopens. Visit leegov.com/vaccine for more information.
Tidal Basin will begin placing calls to schedule the pre-registered slots beginning this afternoon through Monday. Not every pre-registered individual will receive a scheduling call today. Shots will be administered between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 12 and 13.
DOH-Lee anticipates administering about 4,000 doses during those two days at the current site, which is east of Interstate 75 off Daniels Parkway. It’s the site of the old airport terminal parking lot off Paul J. Doherty Parkway.
The site has proved a successful solution to vaccinating thousands of people 65 and older without an unnecessary wait. Traffic to and from the site is flowing; parking is ample; people with appointments are not experiencing delays. Public transportation is available to the site.
By close of business today, more than 11,000 individuals will have been vaccinated at Lee County sites. This total does not include medical workers vaccinated at separate sites by the Florida Department of Health-Lee or vaccinations issued by other entities such as Lee Health.
FDOH-Lee and the county soon will announce information about the second dose of the vaccine and how scheduling will be handled.
The state and county have requested that Tidal Basin stand up a help line or call center for pre-registered people who have questions. Details will be announced when they become available at www.leegov.com/vaccine.
As COVID-19 vaccine distribution continues, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office advises to be aware of emerging fraud schemes, such as:
Calls asking to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine.
Calls asking to pay to put your name on a vaccine waiting list or to get early access.
Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online or from unsolicited/unknown sources.
Marketers offering to sell or ship doses of the vaccine for payment.
Requests from someone unknown to an individual asking for a social security number, bank account information or credit card information.
Lee County residents who believe they have been the victim of COVID-19 fraud can report it to Lee County Sheriff’s Office fraud line at 1-800-HHS-TIPS or log on to tips.hhs.gov.
The Charlotte County Health Department has announced that all appointments for the week of January 11 – 15 are now full, and to check back for additional availability after January 13.
The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County (DOH-Charlotte) is offering COVID-19 vaccinations to high-risk frontline healthcare workers and to those 65 and older. The drive-thru clinics will be held at the Harold Ave Regional Park, located at 23400 Harold Ave., Port Charlotte.
When more appointments are available they can be made online by going to coadfl.org.
There is no fee for the vaccine. Identification is required. If you are a healthcare worker, please bring identification and a copy of your ID badge or a current paystub.
Vaccination is not recommended if you are currently experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms or any other illness. Wait until you are symptom free for 24 hours. Also, if you have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days a vaccination is not recommended.
CVS pharmacies plan to provide vaccines to the general public in their 10,000 CVS Pharmacy locations across the country in 2021.
During the first phase of vaccine administration, vaccinations will go to the following populations:
Long-term care facility residents and staff; Persons 65 years of age and older; and healthcare personnel with direct patient contact.
Updates on the timeline for the general public will be provided as those plans become available.
As it becomes available to the public, non-Florida residents will not be treated any differently than permanent residents of Florida.
Governor Ron DeSantis announced in the last few days that the Florida Division of Emergency Management and Florida Department of Health have partnered with Publix Supermarkets to establish COVID-19 vaccination sites.
Through a partnership with FDEM and FDOH, Publix is receiving 15,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to launch a new pilot program at 22 select Publix Supermarkets, beginning Friday, January 8. Appointments can be made beginning Thursday, January 7.
“As part of our ongoing efforts to increase vaccinations and put Florida’s seniors first, I’m pleased to announce this innovative partnership with Publix,” said Governor DeSantis. “At the end of the day, we are all in this together, and the state of Florida thanks Publix for their willingness to step up and lend their infrastructure to this critical cause.”
The 22 pilot locations will be open in three counties – Citrus, Hernando and Marion. More locations will become available very shortly. You can find more information at publix.com/covidvaccine.
Overall, the best way to find the closest, quickest location to receive a vaccine is to call your family doctor.
On December 11 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine, so that the first COVID-19 vaccines were available to individuals 16 years of age and older.
Securing and distributing a COVID-19 vaccine was a top priority for the state of Florida. A COVID-19 vaccine is a critical resource to preventing the further spread of the virus and allowing Floridians to return to the normal pace of life.
Florida received doses of the Moderna vaccine in the end of December, pending Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Doses of the Moderna vaccine were distributed to locations that did not receive doses in the first allocation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.