No appointment necessary for Polk County COVID-19 vaccinations

Polk County residents no longer have to wait for their appointment to get a COVID-19 shot at a Health Department vaccination site. From now on, it is first-come, first-served.

That is a godsend for people like Raymonde Neal. She is juggling a career as a college professor and homeschooling her two daughters.

Neal was one of the first people to be inoculated at the Lake Eva Center in Haines City on Tuesday morning.

Polk closed its online portal over the weekend, which only a few months ago was jammed with requests for appointments. Since then, demand seems to have gone down.

"Our calls have gone down and our registrations have gone down," said Nicole Riley, a Health Department spokesperson.


It seems like many of the people who were the most intense about getting vaccinated have now gotten their shots. Vaccine hesitation is a factor as well. So is supply and demand.

When the vaccine was first being distributed, there was not much to go around. Now, production is up. There are also a lot more places you can be vaccinated.

"Individuals are able to access more than just the Health Department," Riley noted.

But she says there is still a lot of work to be done. Three out of four people in Polk County have still not been vaccinated. In Pasco and Hillsborough counties, it is closer to two out of three.