SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – People 65 and older looking to get a COVID-19 vaccination in Central Florida this past week faced long lines.
Counties quickly ran out of availability due to high demand.
News 6 is getting answers on how the process works from shipments to shots in the arms from Seminole County’s Emergency Director as well as Gov. Ron DeSantis who spoke in Seminole County Monday.
Lake County and Osceola County health officials also responded to questions from News 6 on the subject.
Do I have to register for an appointment to get a vaccine?
Alan Harris: Most counties are requiring registration before you get your vaccine.
Lake County: All DOH-Lake drive-thru immunization sites will be operating on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability and no appointments will be required.
Osceola County: Yes. Appointments were previously made by telephone or email. In the near future, we will use an appointment system that individuals will be able to access online.
How do I know which vaccine I was given? Do I get a card?
AH: You will receive a card that has a vaccine that you have just been given plus a reservation for when you need to return to get your second dose.
Lake County: After the vaccine is administered you will be provided with a card that has all the information.
Osceola County: Individuals are provided with a vaccination card that records their vaccination, including the type of vaccine and date of vaccination. Vaccinations are also recorded in Florida Shots.
If you get the vaccine, are you guaranteed a second shot?
AH: We have been told by the federal government that we will receive the same amount of doses that we received from the first dose, so we can give the second dose.
Lake County: Second doses clients will be contacted when their second dose comes in and they will be given an appointment.
Osceola County: Vaccine for 2nd doses will be allocated separately.
How are the vaccines distributed to the state? To each county?
Gov. DeSantis: We get an allotment and we determine kind of how to do it. For example, Orlando Health if they do 20,000 and they said, ‘We can do 30,000,’ then maybe we do that, and if someone has been given a lot and hasn’t gone through it we dial that back.
AH: We make a request to the State of Florida for the vaccine, we tell them what we are doing and how much that we are burning through each day and from that, they come up with an algorithm to provide us with a vaccine. We asked for 20,000 and we are getting 12,000. Again, they are getting limited quantities too so they use an algorithm to make sure each county gets something.
Lake County: The vaccine distributor ships the vaccine directly to the county health departments.
Osceola County: We do not have a timeline for vaccine arrival.
How often do new shipments come into the state? To the county?
Gov. DeSantis: We get the final report three days before it ships, now that Moderna and Pfizer both have emergency use authorization, it’s a little more predictable. We usually know the week before the precise amounts, but I think soon it’s going to be pretty predictable and that will be good for everybody to have a sense of where we are going.
Lake County: Right now, on a weekly basis.
Osceola County: There is no timeline for vaccination shipments.
Is each county guaranteed a specific quantity of doses with each shipment?
AH: Eventually we want to do every person that is 65 and older that wants one in Florida. If there are counties not using the vaccine they might come to our county because we can do it faster
Lake County: No.
Osceola County: We are not guaranteed specific quantities of vaccine.
Do I have to go to a vaccination site in my county?
AH: You do not. This is a United States vaccine that is to be given to you.
Lake County: No, we accept residents and non-residents.
Osceola County: Currently the Florida Department of Health in Osceola County is providing vaccinations at our main campus in Kissimmee. More information is available at www.osceola.floridahealth.gov. Individuals may also receive vaccinations through Orlando Health locations by visiting https://vaccine.orlandohealth.com/.
When will I know appointments will be available again?
AH: Most counties have a reservation system or a text group like we do, ours is a notification system.
Lake County: Current and future immunization site updates are available at the Florida Department of Health in Lake County website at lake.floridahealth.gov or follow us on Twitter at @FLHealthLake. We will also be keeping local news up to date!
Osceola County: Individuals are encouraged to visit www.osceola.floridahealth.gov to find out the latest information and updates.
When will vaccine availability be expanded to even more people? Who will that be?
Gov. DeSantis: I think almost assuredly we will go to the workforce next and the Johnson and Johnson is a great way to do that, drop a vaccine at Disney, Orange County Schools and they can knock that out. We want to make it as widely available to the workforce, that’s coming I think it’s dependent on the number of seniors. We have 4.1 million seniors, as we get through and see how demand goes if the vaccine is available and the senior demand goes down not any time soon, weeks or even months then all of a sudden let’s get it out there to folks.