ORLANDO, Fla. – As the state of Florida continues to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, some people are still waiting and hoping for a shot.
On Monday, a separate line of people were seen waiting to get a vaccine at a pop-up site in West Orange County, even though they weren’t eligible. Currently, the state is vaccinating residents 50 and older.
Julian Lopez, 25, was in that line Monday at Highland Lakes Shopping Center. He said even though he’s not officially eligible, he decided to come out after hearing stories of others getting their shots from leftover doses.
Across the state and country, vaccine hunters have been calling up pharmacies and other vaccination locations hoping to score shots that went unused so they don’t go to waste.
“We’re trying to see if this will be the opportunity for us to have the chance as well,” Lopez said. “If it doesn’t happen, I’ll still keep waiting and I’ll still keep my hopes up. If it’s not your turn, it’s not your turn.”
Two-hundred and fifty Johnson & Johnson vaccines were available Monday in the parking lot on West Colonial Drive. The vaccination event was only for people who met the state requirements. It was hosted by Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill and Florida Department of Emergency Management.
Hill said the pop-up location was to create access for those in this west side of Orlando.
Among those who got the vaccine was 53-year-old Tracy Haywood who is looking forward to seeing her grandchildren again.
“So I can go see the rest of my grandbabies because I have four and I only can see two of them right now,” Haywood said.
Hill said she’s all for educating people to get the vaccine, especially people in Black and brown communities.
“I am just here to help promote and advocate for whatever the protocols are,” she said.
“As far as people who want the vaccine, but aren’t yet eligible,” Hill said. “It might not be today, but their turn will be coming real soon.”