Osceola County plans for mass COVID-19 vaccination sites, drive-up locations

Heritage Park to serve as primary distribution site

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – As the Federal Drug Administration edges closer to approving a COVID-19 vaccine, Osceola County leaders are ironing out the final details in its mass distribution plans.

Osceola County’s Emergency Management Director, Bill Litton, said Heritage Park will actually serve as their primary site for mass vaccine distribution, once it’s available for the general population.

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Litton said the county is also looking at coronavirus testing sites that it has been using when it comes to distributing the vaccine.

In talking about the Heritage Park testing site, Litton said it provides a lot of area that would allow them to potentially have up to six lanes of vaccine administration.

He said churches and even community centers are being considered and added the county and Florida Department of Health purchased mobile trailers that would allow them to do pop-up sites around the county.

In terms of a timeframe, Litton said they are probably looking at February or March for them to start vaccinating the general population.

Another key part of the planning will be how to store or keep the vaccine.

“I think initially when the news came out, it felt like you had to have it straight from -70 to you, and that’s not the case,” said Dr. Latha Ganti, an emergency medicine physician with Envision Healthcare.

Ganti said storing the vaccine may be less stressful than it sounds.

“Once you bring it to refrigeration, you can keep it for five days, so that’s not terrible; and then once you have taken an aliquot of the vaccine, like take one of the vials out of the fridge and then you’re diluting it into multiple doses, you have six hours,” Ganti said.

As storing the vaccine seems to be less of a hassle than initially though, Litton tells says for planned mobile sites and drive-up vaccination sites, county leaders are looking at having refrigerators on location.

He also added they can recharge the vaccine shipments with dry ice every five days, for up to a maximum of 15 days.

About the Author:

Lauren Cervantes was born and raised in the Midwest but calls Florida her second home. She joined News 6 in August 2019 as a reporter.