ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — As the Biden administration pushes to see millions more Americans vaccinated over the next few months, health leaders in Florida are working to make sure that those in the Sunshine State get their fair share of Moderna and Pfizer doses.
What You Need To Know
So far, close to 1.4-million doses have been administered to Floridians, including 68,000 people just in Orange County.
The Orange County Convention Center is reaching around 2,000 people a day now, administering vaccines quickly. But Saturday’s doses hold special significance at the OCCC as the first round of vaccine recipients return for their second dose on site.
“It is exciting, it’s a joy we bring to people,” said Kent Donahue, Florida Department of Health in Orange County spokesman.
There is a buzz moving through the slow-moving line for vaccines Saturday morning, people inside their cars are eager for their shots.
“Very excited,” said Zack McCreight, a medical-legal death investigator for the District 9 Medical Examiner’s Office.
McCreight got to the OCCC early for his appointment, ready to receive his final dose of Moderna.
“I already (have) a big weight lifted after the first one,” McCreight said. “So, now that I’m going to get the booster, I feel way better about it.”
After months spent working on the front lines, McCreight is now at the front of the line here at the convention center. This booster shot brings with it a big relief.
“We’ve had quite a few scenes where COVID has been involved, especially with families,” McCreight said.
“Today is the day we start our second doses, so it’s an exciting day,” Donahue said.
Saturday, there were 77-second dose appointments scheduled at the OCCC for first responders, firefighters, and frontline workers along with around 1,900 initial vaccine appointments for Floridians more than 65 years old.
“So we’re starting to slowly move the distribution of the vaccine through our community, so that’s a good thing. I think we’re roughly at 4.56 percent of the community, the population of Orange County has been first dose vaccinated,” Donahue said.
And they’re upping appointment capacity, going from 2,000 a day to 2,500 due to high numbers of cancellations and no-shows.
On Sunday, they’ll offer a closed point of dispensing (POD) system to reach a new group at the OCCC, administering the first vaccine to OCPS staff more than 65 years old with appointments.
It’s a big relief for many parents and teachers who have been waiting for this day.
As the vaccine spreads through his arm and throughout the community, McCreight said it feels like there’s finally an end in sight to this pandemic.
“We’re all in this together,” McCreight said. “We just need to get through it, it’s tough but it’s necessary.”
The Florida Department of Health in Orange County is asking those who no longer need their vaccine appointments to cancel them on the same website where they made that appointment initially.
For more information on vaccine distribution, visit the website here.