Osceola County begins COVID-19 vaccine distribution days before 2021

Seniors 65+ and healthcare professionals can qualify

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – After being left out of first-round Pfizer vaccines for COVID-19, Osceola County residents will finally be able to get vaccinated with Moderna’s version of the coronavirus-fighting drug.

[Qualified Osceola residents, call (407) 343-2000 to schedule a vaccine appointment or email Osceola.Health@flhealth.gov with the subject line “vaccine.”]

The news left some residents overjoyed. “Yay! I’m all in,” Betty Fenner, 79, said. “I’m going to go away for the weekend!”

Fenner, a longtime Osceola resident, and teacher for more than 50 years has taken up virtual schooling to stay busy during the pandemic.

“It has been hard on a lot of my students who are trying to balance work and school and taking care of their kids.”

Most counties had been limited doses to healthcare professionals and seniors in assisted living facilities, but a recent executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded the eligible vaccine groups to include people 65 years and older.

But with a limited supply of vaccines, merely hundreds of doses, the county is limiting the available vaccinations to seniors 65 years and older, like Fenner, and healthcare professionals.

[RELATED: Here’s how to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida]

“I know there are others that need the vaccine more than I do. I trust our county to do things in the right way, and I believe they will,” Fenner said.

Qualified residents must call or email the Osceola County Department of Health to schedule a vaccine appointment.

“They will go through some prompts and talk to a person over the phone to make sure they qualify,” DOH spokesperson Jeremy Lanier said. “We are scheduling vaccinations by appointment to make it as easiest as possible for our residents to come and receive their vaccinations.”

And for those who do not yet qualify for a vaccine, Lanier is reminding folks to hang in there just a little bit longer.

“The vaccine is one prong in our arsenal,” Lanier said. “This cannot be a time for us to let down our guard. We need to make sure we adhere to all the CDC guidelines.”

Something 64-year-old Charlene Lackney of Osceola County is going to have to do.

“A lot of my friends are 65 and older and they definitely need to get the vaccine because they have been keeping themselves in quarantine. I need it because I have a lot of grandchildren. I have grandchildren in California and I have to keep canceling my plane reservations because we are just not sure what is going on there.”

Qualified residents can schedule a vaccine appointment by calling 407-343-2000. Residents can also email osceola.health@flhealth.gov and put “Vaccine” in the subject line. In the body of the email include your full name and phone number.


About the Author:

Award-winning investigative reporter Merris Badcock joined the News 6 team in October 2020. Merris is the recipient of a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award, a Suncoast Regional Emmy Award, four Suncoast Emmy Regional nominations, and two first-place Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists’ Awards.