Demand High as Vaccines Reach Sarasota Public

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY DEC 31, 2020

Health care institutions providing vaccines to the general public have seen a rush on shots and advise patience.

Manatee County’s Department of Health and Public Safety made vaccinations available to citizens age 65 and older beginning on Wednesday, but reservations quickly filled up through today. A vaccine drive-through will be set up from Friday through Monday at Bennett Park but appointments must be made through mymanatee.org/vaccine. Additional dates will be released on Monday afternoons.

Dr. Jennifer Bencie, the Florida Department of Health’s Manatee County Health Officer, held a virtual community event with Manatee County EMS Chief James Crutchfield and Emergency Management Chief Steve Litschauer to discuss the process. She said Florida opened up the vaccines to all citizens older than 65, regardless of other preexisting conditions. Getting a vaccine includes committing to setting up time for a second shot 28 days after and staying in the county.

Meanwhile, the Sarasota County Department of Health on Wednesday announced its second round of vaccines. A vaccine clinic for 400 individuals will be held today, but again appointments are required. Only frontline health care workers and those older than 65 may sign up at SarasotaHealth.org.

“We’re trying to do up to 50 shots an hour,” said Steve Huard, spokesman for the Department of Health’s Sarasota office. The shots in Downtown Sarasota are being administered at the Health Department office.

While there’s been frustration with the limited doses available so far, Huard said as more vaccines become available, officials will look at ways to more quickly get shots out to the public.

And at least among those already receiving shots, there’s been good reviews at the efficiency in the office itself. “They did a great job with this. Our experience was fine,” said Virginia Hoffman, who received a vaccine the first day they became available. “The staff was great, the public was great, and it was well organized—Bravo to the Sarasota County Health department.”

In addition to what’s being provided through health departments, Florida has also issued vaccine orders to 170 hospitals across the state of Florida.

Photo courtesy Sarasota County Department of Health

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