In the final days of 2020, people in Florida 65 and older began receiving their first shots of the coronavirus vaccine, but when and where those doses became available have varied from county to county.
In early January, Florida was vaccinating only three priority groups: Health care workers, long-term care facility staff and residents and people 65 or older. The health care group includes EMTs and paramedics as well as Department of Health staff.
Nearly 385,000 people in Florida have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Jan. 7. The state was allocated 1.15 million shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said all 67 Florida counties would have either Moderna or Pfizer vaccines by Jan. 1. The vaccines will be handed over to local health departments and hospitals to distribute within their communities.
“This week, Florida will receive over 120,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and will distribute these doses to hospitals and county health departments that have not previously received the vaccine,” DeSantis said. “As a result, all 67 Florida counties will have received doses of the vaccine by the end of the week. Florida is also receiving over 118,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to begin administering the second dose of this vaccine at the original five pilot hospitals.”
Residents who are among the first priority groups should check their local health department websites for information on appointments and where inoculations are occurring.
As the state receives more doses, more individuals will qualify among the first vaccine priority groups. Next up will be frontline workers, such as grocery store employees, teachers and police, according to DeSantis.
Seminole County became the first site in Central Florida to begin administering shots to people 65 and older but appointments for the first day quickly filled up.
On Jan. 7, select Publix supermarket locations in Florida began offering the shots by appointment only. DeSantis said if the pilot program goes well he hopes to expand the vaccine to all Publix locations but did not provide a timeline on when that could happen.
All vaccine Florida sites are open to anyone in the priority groups regardless of state or county residency. Residents will need to return to receive their second shot 21 or 28 days after their first dose, depending on which vaccine they receive.
Floridians are asked to be patient as county health departments roll out vaccination plans for millions of residents who meet the age qualifications. The state is home to more than 4 million people 65 and older.
The vaccine is not expected to be available to the general population, including younger residents or non-frontline workers, until late spring.
As of Jan.6, the following counties in Central Florida have shared information to help people register for appointments and get more information on vaccine availability. This story will be updated as new appointments open and vaccine plans change.
Brevard County | Appointment only
Brevard County is inoculating frontline healthcare workers and residents and staff of long term care facilities and began vaccinating people 65 and older on Jan. 4.
People who qualify under these priority groups must make an appointment. As of Dec. 30 all appointments were full. The county plans to reopen the registration portal soon but had not as of Jan. 6.
The county opened a phone line for appointments but a day later switched to an online registration system due to demand. Appointments previously made by phone will still be honored. Here is the link to register online.
The best way to be notified of new appointments is by texting Brevardeoc to 888777.
The vaccine site will be a drive-thru located at 2555 Judge Fran Jamieson Way in Viera.
Vaccinations will be provided between the hours of 8:30-11:30 a.m. beginning Jan. 5, and will continue for morning appointments through Friday and then Monday through Friday through the end of January. Afternoon appointments previously made by phone, will begin Monday Jan. 4, and continue Monday through Friday from 1:15 to 4:15 p.m. until further notice.
A driver’s license or healthcare badge is required at the time of the appointment.
Brevard Public School officials said the district will work with staff over 65 and healthcare specialists who work with students to make sure they have the time needed to get vaccinated.
People are asked to review the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet. Residents are also asked to bring the COVID-19 vaccine consent form and the facts and privacy form.
Flagler County | Appointment only
The Florida Department of Health in Flagler County received its first round COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 28 and is working with Flagler County Emergency Management to distribute shots to the community.
Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said doses in this initial shipment have been earmarked specifically for healthcare providers in our community. Other priority groups, particularly those over the age of 65, can begin to receive vaccinations in early January, as additional doses are delivered.
Flagler County residents 65 and older were able to make appointments to be vaccinated starting on Jan. 5. Appointments are required. The first round of appointments filled up within 10 minutes, according to the county DOH.
Vaccinations will take place at the Flagler County Fairgrounds at 150 Sawgrass Road in Bunnell. Drivers are asked to arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment.
The county has not yet released when it will reopen the appointment portal when it does appointments can be made by visiting www.flaglercounty.org, and clicking on the COVID-19 link or by calling 386-313-4200.
The best way to receive updates about COVID-19 vaccination appointment availability and testing, is to text “FlaglerCOVID” to 888-777.
Lake County | Awaiting more vaccine doses
The Lake County Department of Health is announcing when it has vaccine doses to give out the day of arrival and not in advance. The most recent shots were administered on Jan. 6 and announced a half an hour before the vaccine site opened.
Lake County will begin vaccinating people over 65 on Dec. 30 at two locations. Vaccines are free and first come, first serve.
While no appointment system is in place the county DOH is working on getting software up and running for future doses.
Health officials said in regards to vaccine distribution they will evaluate on a day-by-day basis and don’t plan to announce distribution until the day it happens. An announcement will be made through the Lake County DOH website, lake.floridahealth.gov or on Twitter at @FLHealthLake.
There are two locations for the vaccines: the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center at 3700 S. Highway 27, a second location will be announced soon.
When vaccines are available the sites will be open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
People over 65 will need to present identification and frontline workers will need to present a copy of their medical license, employee badge or current paystub.
For more information about vaccine sites in Lake County click here.
Residents can get vaccine updates via text by texting COVIDUPDATE to 888777.
Marion County | Appointment only
The first vaccines for 65 and older residents began Jan. 5 by appointment only in Marion County.
The county health department opened up reservations on Dec. 28 but after receiving more than 50,000 requests closed its application request portal.
DOH staff are working to call all people who request appointments which could take weeks.
When the county reopens the application process here’s how you register:
Go to this link https://tinyurl.com/y98cxp6s and complete the form. For those without access to a computer or smart phone, call the Marion County COVID-19 hotline at 352-644-2590 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and staff will submit the form online for you.
Once eligible residents submit their information on DOH-Marion’s website, they will be placed in line for a call-back by staff to set an appointment. Staff will call to schedule a vaccination appointment as vaccine becomes available.
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is a 2-shot series, with the second shot being provided 28 days after the first shot.
Some Publix pharmacies in Marion will begin offering the vaccine by appointment beginning Jan. 8. Find the full list of locations here.
Orange County | Appointment only
The Orange County Department of Health began administering shots to EMTS and paramedics at the Orange County Convention Center on Dec. 26.
People 65 and older with appointments can get their vaccines at the Orange County at the Convention Center between 8 a.m. and 9 pm.
This vaccine location is also open to people who live outside of Orange County.
After the first day the online registration portal was closed after more than 30,000 appointments were made within 24 hours. The portal will reopen on Jan. 7 at 8 a.m. Click here to register.
The County will also provide updates via text if people text OCFLCOVID to 888777.
For those without smart phones or computers, community centers will also offer registration for the vaccine. The East Orange, Taft, Holden Heights and Center Hills community centers will have staff available to help people 65 and older register for vaccine appointments. Within the city of Orlando, the Beardall Senior Center on Delaney Avenue and L. Claudia Allen Senior Center on Mable Butler Avenue will be available to help residents register.
The Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lake Nona will host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Jan. 9 for veterans 65 and older who receive care at the VA.
The event is open to veterans 75 years and older who receive care from the VA and have not received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Vaccines will be available by appointment as well as open to walk-ins, as supply allows. To schedule a vaccination appointment veterans can call 407-631-0499 between Monday- Friday from 7:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. or leave a voicemail during non-business hours.
The clinic runs from Jan. 9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 13800 Veterans Way, Orlando. The vaccine clinic will be on the fourth floor auditorium.
More events will be announced as supplies increase.
Osceola County | Appointment only
The Florida Department of Health in Osceola County received its first allocation of the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 28.
As of Dec. 30, all appointments were full. The county plans to reopen registration soon.
Persons 65 years and older and health care personnel interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccination may call 407-343-2000 to register. Once connected, callers should follow the prompts to receive more information on COVID-19 and remain on the line for the next available agent.
Due to call demand, the county also added an email option to register. Residents can email email@example.com and put “Vaccine” in the subject line. In the body of the email include your full name and phone number.
People who register will have the option to receive updates on vaccine availability via email. Health department staff will call to schedule appointments based on vaccine availability.
Osceola is coordinating with Osceola County Emergency Management and community partners to offer community-based and mass vaccination clinics as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more readily available. Residents should continue to check osceola.floridahealth.gov for updates.
The department’s COVID-19 call center is available 24/7 at 1-866-779-6121 or via email at COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Polk County | Appointment only
The Polk County Department of Health will open a phoneline Jan. 8 to begin making vaccine appointments for people 65 and older.
To make an appointment call 863-298-7500 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Employees staffing the phone line will help make a “limited number of vaccine appointments scheduled for next week.” After those appointments are filled, callers will be placed on a registration list for future openings, according to the Polk County DOH.
When callers receive their appointment time they will be given the location of the vaccine site. Polk County declined to release the location to the media.
“We want to provide our residents with the safest and healthiest experience when coming for their COVID-19 vaccine appointment so we are sharing the location details of their appointments when the resident calls to register,” Polk County-Florida Department of Health public information officer Nicole Riley.
DOH officials said they hope to provide about 1,000 shots at two events during the second week of January.
Residents should follow updates at Polk.FloridaHealth.gov for vaccine availability.
Seminole County | Appointment only
The Seminole County Office of the Emergency Management in conjunction with the health department began administering shots to people 65 and older on Dec. 28 by appointment only at the Oviedo Mall. Health care workers can also go to this site for the vaccine.
The first and second round of appointments quickly filled up but Seminole County. People can continue to check back on the Eventbrite for cancellations or for when more appointments become available but the best way to learn of openings is via text.
Residents can also text COVID19INFO to 888-777 to receive notifications when the vaccine becomes available to more groups and/or when more appointments are available.
This vaccine location is open to people who live outside of Seminole County and the criteria were recently expanded to include non-hospital health care workers.
Sumter County | Appointment only
Sumter County opened another round of vaccine appointments for people 65 and older for a vaccine event on Jan. 7, all appointments were quickly filled.
Previously, the Sumter County Health Department said it will offer a “small block of appointments” at the Bushnell office to vaccinate people 65 and older. Before signing up residents are asked to review the pre-vaccination checklist provided by the CDC.
Officials did not disclose how many appointments would be available.
The county is planning a “mass vaccination event” at a future date but could not provide details. The health department estimates there are about 130,000 people in the county who are eligible for priority vaccinations and it will need more doses before that can happen.
Volusia County | Appointments vary
Volusia County has been vaccinating health care workers as well as long term care facilities and began inoculating people 65 and older on Jan. 4.
The county opened its online registration portal for its Deltona vaccination event on Jan. 5 at 3 p.m. All appointment slots were filled as of 3:15 p.m.
People are required to sign up for an appointment to receive their first dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine at Dewey O. Boster Sports Complex at 1200 Saxon Boulevard.
Health officials will vaccinate people 65 and older at the drive-up site from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 7 and 8. They will return in 28 days to administer the second dose. Vaccinations are free.
The first drive-through vaccination clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Jan. 4 and 5 at Daytona Stadium at 3917 LPGA Boulevard.
There are no appointments necessary but vaccine supply is limited and will be offered first come, first served.
The event reached capacity before operations began Jan. 5. DOH-Volusia will return to this location in 28 days to offer the second dose to those who are due.
Health officials will administer doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Those who line-up for a vaccine must bring a photo ID and will be required to complete a medical screening document and sign an informed consent form before receiving a shot.
People who have had COVID-19 in the past two weeks or had a COVID-19 vaccine shot in the past two weeks will not be eligible to receive a vaccine at this event.
After receiving a vaccination, recipients will be required to remain on site for 15-30 minutes for medical monitoring.
Future vaccination dates in several locations across the county will be based on vaccine availability. Notifications will be provided to the news media. Information also will be posted online at Volusia.org/coronavirus.
Below is map of all currently vaccine sites around Central Florida.
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