SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. – A Florida couple is struggling to make an appointment to get the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after they received their first shot out of state.
Abby Camodeca, 74, spends the winter months in Florida. She lives near Tampa for part of the year with her 90-year-old husband.
She said they both got their first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 18 from their health care provider. She said they then flew down from Washington state and arrived in Florida on Jan. 25.
“They told us at that time that we could go ahead and go to Florida because we can get our second shot anywhere,” Camodeca said.
As soon as they arrived, Camodeca said she tried to make an appointment to get their second dose, but so far she said she has had no luck.
She said health officials told her they couldn’t get their second dose in Florida because they got their first shot somewhere else. She said she also tried scheduling a second dose appointment at her local Winn-Dixie, but was also told she couldn’t get the shot there.
Camodeca said they are now considering spending $3,000 to fly back to Washington to get the second dose.
“The only thing we know to do is to get on a plane and fly 3,000 miles back to Seattle, get our shot and get on a plane and fly 3,000 miles to come back here just so we can get our vaccine,” she said.
News 6 confirmed with the Hillsborough County Health Department that residents are not required to get their second dose of the vaccine at the same location.
FDOH-Hillsborough County spokesman Kevin Watler said trying to go somewhere else to complete the series can be challenging.
“The vaccine, the way it is distributed, both the first and second dose will be sent to the same location, so when you have someone going to a different location it could happen that you will get the second dose at that location, but the thing is it has to be same one or same type of vaccine you got from your first dose,” Watler said.
Watler said Hillsborough County is only offering the Pfizer vaccine at its public sites, which is why they can’t help the Camodecas.
He adds they are encouraging part-time residents to consider their travel plans before getting the vaccine.
“If you’re not going to be here in three weeks, you’re going to have to find the Pfizer vaccine somewhere else and that place you’re going to be at in three weeks may not have it, so why risk it?” Watler said.
Camodeca said she is hopeful they can get their second doses in Florida.
“Our fourth week is next Monday and we’re just trying very hard to do what we were told we had to do to get the vaccine,” she said.
A Winn-Dixie spokesperson said stores are prioritizing customers who receive their first dose at their locations and customers are automatically scheduled to receive the second dose of the vaccine.