ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – This week, first doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be available again at FEMA’s mass vaccination site at Valencia College’s west campus.
This comes after the site saw a dramatic drop in vaccinations following the pause in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It was earlier this month that the state switched the site to offer only J&J as the site is set to close on May 26.
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“The reason we are here is to provide mass vaccination and when our capabilities are reduced, it just feels like we are handcuffed,” said CJ Prudhom, a FEMA spokesperson at the site. “Second doses of Pfizer, that’s the only thing we have been giving for the last week so it’s been slow. Normally our capacity is many more thousands.”
However, starting on Tuesday the site is expected to vaccinate thousands again as the state plans to reallocate first doses of Pfizer back at the site.
“I expect our lines will be pretty busy starting Tuesday,” Prudhom said. “We don’t have an exact count, but what we heard is it could be less than the 3,000 we were getting before, but we will have the number of available first doses on Monday.”
The last time the site offered the first dose of Pfizer was also the first day eligibility opened for those 16 and up, with lines then up to two hours long. Prudhom believes the demand will be there again this week as no appointments are needed at the walk-up site.
“One of the big benefits here (is) there aren’t appointments, so come when you are comfortable,” he said. “If you are 16 years old, you have to bring proof of age, your consent form signed by a parent and a legal guardian when you come get your shot.”
This comes on the same day Orange County health officials tweeted they are seeing increases in cases in those 18-24, urging the younger population to get vaccinated.
As for the FEMA sites set up into the neighborhoods, they will not be operating this week. The fixed mass vaccination site at Valencia College is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
With 18 to 24-year-olds making up the largest increase in COVID-19 infections in @OrangeCoFL, it is important for the younger population to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. More info: https://t.co/5hXVu8XQb7— Orange County FL (@OrangeCoFL) April 18, 2021
👏 Thank you to these students! #IGotMyShot@valenciacollege pic.twitter.com/pqoB3IzFvn