ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Starting Monday, Orange County will serve 3,000 appointments each day at the Orange County Convention Center.
The portal to register for a vaccine at the convention center was open longer than usual. Those 65 and older had two hours to schedule an appointment before the portal closed Monday. It will reopen once the county gets another shipment of vaccines.
The increase in capacity for Orange County comes as Florida is set to receive a boost in doses after Pfizer and Moderna upped their production of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We’re able to help more people, we’ve done a lot of improvements in terms of efficiency and everybody knows their role now,” said Orange County Department of Health spokesperson Kent Donahue.
The federal government said it will send 417,000 initial doses of the vaccine to Florida this week. Last week, the state received 340,000 doses. That’s an increase from two weeks ago when Florida received about 325,000 doses of the vaccine.
Meantime, the White House is still working to catch up on a backlog of vaccines that were supposed to go out last week. A massive winter storm that hammered the Midwest delayed 6 million doses of the vaccine.
“We’ve been able to get 2 million of those 6 million doses out. We expect to rapidly catch up this week, fill that backlog, make sure they’re out to communities and also meet our deadlines and our timelines of the doses that are due to go out this upcoming week,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
While the delays impacted Flagler and Volusia counties, there were no issues with Orange County getting the vaccines they need to keep up with their appointments.
Health officials said the convention center has been a sought-after location.
“We’re seeing people from Palm Beach County, Lee County, Lake County, The Villages have been well represented here, but also Orange and Seminole counties. It’s moving in the right direction,” Donahue said.
With the opening of the new FEMA vaccination sites across the state, one in Orlando, as well as pharmacies like Publix and Walmart giving out vaccines, Donahue said he expects the vaccine to be open to the general public as early as March.
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