International travelers taking advantage of mobile vaccine sites open on Memorial Day

Loch Haven Park mobile site open until 10 p.m. Memorial Day with J&J

Seven mobile vaccination sites opened across Central Florida on Memorial Day as the state partnered with local community organizations and businesses.

The vaccine site near Meson Sandwiches in the Lee Vista-area just north of the Orlando International Airport served less than 25 people Monday while some sites have seen little participation, others near the tourist district are seeing a larger turnout.

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”Being in Orlando, we’re seeing people from all over the world. I’ve seen people from Japan and Columbia,” said Corey Price, the lead RN for the vaccination site at Orlando Hilton.

Price said the start of summer has brought more people from outside of Florida to get vaccinated here.

“I ask if they’re here for the vaccine or vacation, and most are saying vaccine, but they’re making it into a vacation so they’re specifically coming to the U.S. because they can’t get it in their country,” said Price. “I have goosebumps right now. It’s amazing to be able to help people all over the world, not just in Orlando.”

That vaccination site is one of dozens of state-run sites open on Memorial Day to provide convenience for those who want to get the shot, especially for minorities.

[Here are the Central Florida COVID-19 vaccination sites offering doses on Memorial Day]

“I think it’s pretty convenient because we have a lot of Hispanic people around, not a lot of them are vaccinated,” said Karla Reyes, service team leader at Meson Sandwiches.

Meson Sandwiches, a Puerto Rican restaurant chain, remained busy in the Lee Vista area, but the state-run mobile vaccination site steps away had been vacant most of the day with less than 25 people showing up to get the vaccine. Some people, including Reyes, admitting they are hesitant.

“I’ve been doing some research and I’m debating it and I’m not so sure yet,” said Reyes.

Meson even offered free coffee and job interviews to try to get people to the vaccination site.

As of Friday, the state reported more than 10 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Less than 18% are Hispanic and about 7% are Black.

“It was hard to get an appointment when I did it. Now you can go anywhere and that’s a blessing,” said Julie Perez, who is fully vaccinated.

Perez visited the mobile site at Iglesia La Cosecha in Kissimmee. While she only saw a few people get vaccinated when she was there, she said it’s worth it to have vaccination sites in locations convenient for minorities. She is undergoing treatment for cancer and has a message for those who are hesitant to get the shot.

“I did it and I only have one lung so if I did it, you can do it and it will be great for you and your family,” said Perez.

Most vaccine sites closed at 6 p.m. Monday, but Loch Haven Park will be offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until 10 p.m. No appointment is needed.

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a multimedia journalist who joined the News 6 team in February 2020. Crystal comes to Central Florida from WKMG’s sister station, WJXT in Jacksonville, where she worked as a traffic anchor and MMJ.