International travelers using Orlando as COVID-19 vaccine destination

Those getting vaccinated at state-run sites don’t have to prove residency

International travelers using Orlando as COVID-19 vaccine destination
International travelers using Orlando as COVID-19 vaccine destination

ORLANDO, Fla. – Lead nurse Corey Price at a state-run site at Hilton Orlando said you don’t have to prove you’re a Florida resident to get the COVID-19 vaccine there. You just need a valid ID or passport.

Being in a tourist district, he said he’s seeing people from all over the world show up to get the shot.

“Since we’re in Orlando near an international airport, we’re seeing people from all over the world: Colombia, Paraguay, I saw some people from Haiti the other day and some people from Japan,” Price said.

Jahir Rivera, 28, and his friends visited from Colombia. They stopped by the vaccination site Tuesday and received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“For people my age it’s not available in my country. For me it would take a couple years more to get the shot. So I got it here,” Rivera said.

Some people are traveling the world to protect themselves and their families.

“We need to feel safe. Mainly because of our daughter of a year and a half,” Miguel Herrera said. “I’m bringing my wife.”

Some countries are seeing a slow rollout of the vaccine or supply shortages. Although the Florida health department’s website said you must be a Florida resident or someone providing goods and services in the state to be eligible for the vaccine, the lead nurse at the Hilton Orlando vaccination site said no one has to prove their residency. He said they just need valid ID or passport to prove their age.

“Some people are crying when they get the shot. A lot of emotion at this site because they are so excited. It’s rewarding for us to provide the shots for them,” Price said. “It makes us feel so good because we can provide that resource that they’re not able to get in other countries.”

A few Orlando residents got the shot as well on Tuesday.

Marangelise Santiago said she was hesitant at first, but finally made the decision to get vaccinated.

“I’m here because I’m an Uber driver and I want to protect myself and my family,” Santiago said.

Her two daughters came along for support, but were reluctant to get the shot.

“Let’s see how her reactions are after she’s recovered, then we’ll decide,” Katysha Colon said.

The Hilton Orlando vaccination site is stocked with 50 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines and 50 doses of Pfizer each day. The nurses said they have access to more if they need it.

The site is located at 6001 Destination Parkway inside the parking garage behind the Hilton hotel. The site is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and expects to be running through the end of June, but could remain longer.

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