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Sarasota Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 1 month ago

Sarasota looks to make changes to vaccine distribution

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Officials hope to add a call-in line and drive-thru vaccination locations.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

As of Tuesday afternoon, Sarasota County has distributed 2,800 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to front line health care workers and seniors age 65 and older. 

The county received 4,900 vaccines from the state and has plans to exhaust that number by Thursday afternoon. Two clinics are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday where approximately 800 people will receive the vaccine each day.

County officials can administer about 100 vaccines an hour, Steve Huard, Florida Department of Health Sarasota Health Officer public information officer, said. 

Huard said there are about 150,000 people in the county who fall into priority groups and anticipates the county will receive another shipment of vaccines from the state early next week, though it is unclear how many doses the county will be given. 

As the county began rolling out its vaccines, many people complained about the scheduling system, which is online. Many older people, who are in the priority groups, say they don't have access to internet to schedule an appointment. 

Huard said DOH is working with Sarasota County Emergency Management to develop a call-in system for those who don't have access to internet to schedule appointments. 

"We are working on a system to capture all those individuals and get them in line so when we open clinics in the future we can include those people," Huard said. 

Currently, the vaccine is being administered at the county health building at 2200 Ringling Blvd. However, as the county receives more vaccines, Huard said officials are looking to add additional drive-thru and walk-up clinics throughout the county. 

"It's essential that we bring our services to every part of Sarasota County and that's what we want to do," he said.  

Huard said everyone in the priority groups are encouraged to receive the vaccine as soon as possible. However, snowbirds who are leaving Florida within the month should consider waiting to receive the vaccine until they return to their home state. 

"You need to be here for 28 days so you can receive the second does because it's important to receive the same dose, whether it's Pfizer or Moderna," Huard said. 

 

 

 

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