ORLANDO, Fla. - COVID-19 vaccination sites are expanding in Central Florida -- including at Orlando International Airport. AdventHealth is now providing vaccines to people in the community who meet the age requirement of 65 and up.
The vaccination effort began at 10 a.m. there but officials want the public to know that this is not for walk-ins and everyone must have an appointment in advance. Right now, all appointments are booked through this Friday.
For those with appointments, the vaccine is provided free of charge. This COVID vaccine requires two doses, so those who receive their first vaccine at the airport will be asked to schedule their second appointment.
Everyone must provide an ID upon registration that shows proof of healthcare employment or that you are 65-years of age or older. After receiving the vaccine, you will be required to stay on-site for at least 15 minutes to ensure there are no adverse reactions.
More than 1,500 people received their free COVID-19 vaccine at the location on its first day. All by appointment only. No walk-ups allowed.
"There wasn’t a traffic problem," Doug Miller said. "People directed you everywhere. So good experience."
"There were 7,000 vaccines that we had after giving them to our employees," said Dr. Scott Brady, CEO of AdventHealth Centra Care. "We’re distributing them to the community. We were told by the state, distribute them as fast as you can to the appropriate age groups so that’s what we’re doing."
AdventHealth said the vaccine helps people develop antibodies that make you less susceptible to the disease and it does not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. Health officials say the most commonly reported side effects are mild and include soreness, fatigue, and headache.
The Miller family said they are happy to finally see the vaccine become available, but still wonder why it has taken the state so long to distribute.
"We’re old enough that when they had the polio vaccine – many we were down at the school getting that vaccine—lined up and boom it’s all done," Pam Miller said. "And this is like – come on come on but now it’s happening."
AdventHealth officials said they will distribute the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they get it. Everyone who received their vaccine on Tuesday and through the rest of the week will be scheduled to come back.
"After the second vaccine, which is the exact same as the first vaccine, 90 to 95 percent of them will respond," said Brady. He cited the CDC and said a person should then be protected against the COVID-19 virus in as little as one week.
"We’re not gonna let our guard down," Doug Miller said. "You know the mask – we’ll keep it up til it’s felt like it’s safe and enough people have been vaccinated you know and it shows it’s working good."
AdventHealth officials said once they receive more vaccines they will open more appointments. If you wish to be notified about when appointment times become available, you can register at CoronavirusVaccineAlerts.com.
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