Daytona COVID-19 vaccine site reaches capacity again but moves much smoother

The COVID-19 vaccine distribution site at Daytona Stadium reached capacity on Tuesday before the first shot was even given. 

According to the City of Daytona, the site reached capacity at 6:45 a.m. and the gates are closed for the day. Those waiting said that it was a much smoother experience.

"It was easy and then we knew we were going to be (one of the) first in line," Joan Horneff of Ormond Beach said. "That made it a little more of a motivator."

The city made a change Monday night that made Tuesday go a lot smoother. Police opened the gates at 7 p.m. to let cars wait on the property overnight. Hundreds of cars poured into the parking lot of the Daytona Stadium to wait in line to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.

"It was great," Horneff said. "They took us off the road. It felt very safe and had restrooms."

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James Engelbrecht of New Smyrna Beach agreed, telling FOX 35 that "let people know last night you’re not getting in, whereas the night before, hundreds of people spent the whole night and didn’t get in."

He got turned away like so many others on Monday when the site hit capacity before it even opened. He got back in line later that day.

Many waited outside the gates all day to be let into the parking lot around 7 p.m. Barbara and Joe Shanton, both 88 years old, were first in line.

"We got here at 10 this morning," said Joe. "We’ve been in hibernation for a year! And we’re getting too old for that because we don’t have too many years left -- we can’t lose them."

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Previously, city officials discouraged people from camping out overnight to wait for the vaccine. However, after hundreds of people lined up along LPGA Boulevard, the city decided to allow people in the parking lot. They only allowed 1,000 people into the lot so people would feel no need to wait outside and then be turned away.

The vaccinations began at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

FOX 35 checked back in with Joe Shanton and his wife. They were first in line Monday night before the gates opened and they are happy to be vaccinated. They did not mind the wait at all.

"I thought they really handled it well the second day because everything just went perfect," Shanton said.

A health department spokesperson said more vaccination events will be announced soon.

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