ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County leaders revealed the plan to vaccinate older residents and keep the community informed on broader COVID-19 vaccination plans that include a website, app, text, email and community centers.
The Orange County Department of Health began administering shots to EMTs and paramedics at the Orange County Convention Center on Saturday.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said beginning Tuesday, people 65 and older can begin getting their vaccines at the Orange County Convention Center between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Appointments will be required and the site is open to anyone, not just Orange County residents, according to county officials.
People 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 and this link has step-by-step registration instructions.
Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino said people who make an appointment will receive text and email reminders and when it’s time to return for their second dose they will again receive reminders. People will make an appointment for their second dose at the site once they receive the first dose.
The county will provide updates via text if people text OCFLCOVID to 888777. Leaders are also working to train 311 operators to provide COVID-19 vaccine updates. Downloading the OCFL Alert app is recommended as well.
For those without smartphones or computers, community centers will offer registration for the vaccine. In Orange County, 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.
In 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, according to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
“Vaccine rollout will take some time and we know it’ll be several months before everyone has access,” Dyer said. “Wear your mask, help stop spread.”
The goal is to vaccinate 1,500 residents per day at the Orange County Convention Center. The shots are free but insurance information will be collected in case the government can be reimbursed. The site is open to anyone not just Orange County residents.
Pino said residents will receive the Moderna vaccine at the site and then be given a card with a lot number in case that information is needed in the future.
“That card is important. The system will generate a card and archive a card in the webpage and you are going to get a physical card and our advice is that you take a picture of that card and save it to your mobile device, if you have it, so that in case that you need it in the future,” Pino said.
Those who receive the vaccine will be required to wait for a 15-minute observation period to ensure that they don’t have an adverse reaction. Pino said he hasn’t heard of anyone having a reaction but doctors and paramedics will be on standby to administer aid if needed.
As far as other tips, Pino suggested driving slowly and carefully through the site and being patient since it will take some time before the shots are available to the population at large.
“So what we’re asking you is to just be patient, we will get to you. We are doing everything we can to vaccinate as many people as we can as quickly as we can,” Pino said.
Also starting Tuesday, mobile pods will go into certain section nine housing complexes to inoculate residents there. Pino said that effort is to ensure that low-income Central Floridians have access to the vaccine.
“We are interested in having access to minority, people of color, socioeconomically challenged individuals in our society, as well as people who have lack of access to health care or providers. So these mobile pods are going to focus on that type of population to have access to it,” Pino said.
On Monday, neighboring Seminole County also began inoculating people over 65 years old. The vaccine site is located inside the Oviedo Mall and residents must also make appointments.
For more Central Florida county vaccine distribution plans, click here.