BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - People 65 and older are rolling down their windows and rolling up their sleeves getting the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County.
Some people who received the shot on Monday got it a little earlier than expected.
"I got a phone call Thursday or Friday and they changed the date. That’s why we’re here today," Paul Merlino said.
He and his wife, Joyce, were initially scheduled for vaccine appointments on Tuesday, January 19. The call asking them to come in early was a pleasant surprise for them and many others.
"I was extremely excited. Extremely excited. We’ve already text everyone that we got our first shot."
Brevard County Emergency Management’s Don Walker told FOX 35 News that the reason they’re able to move countless appointments up a week is efficiency.
"We went from Day 1, 232 [vaccines administered] to just over 500 on Day 2, and we’re reaching on average now... we’re doing about 700 vaccines a day. So, what that allowed us to do was contact people who already had appointments for later in the month and move them up even closer," Walker said.
To the Merlinos, getting the vaccine eight days earlier means a lot.
"It’s just that much quicker we can get upon our business, do things like normal again," Paul said.
Normal things like see their family. The two of them spent the holidays alone out of precaution. Now that they’ve got their first shot and an appointment to come back for their booster, they’ve got a date on the calendar to have their grandchildren over for a slumber party.
"I have a 7 and 9-year-old grandchild that live two miles from me and so it’s very hard, difficult not to go over there all the time. Hug and kiss them," Joyce said.
She’s already got it all planned out.
"Play games, bake cookies, play cards, snuggle on the couch and watch a movie. Just to have some good snuggles," she said with a big smile on her face.
Walker is hoping that Governor Ron DeSantis sees they’re making efficient use of their allotted vaccines, recognizing that time is of the essence to get shots in arms.
"If we can show to the state we’re able to get shots in arms at a pace like this, hopefully, they’ll be able to supply us more vaccines. We’re already poised and ready that if the time comes, we can open up other branches, satellite offices so to speak, where we can do it in other parts of the county and get shots in arms quicker," Walker said.
As of now, appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine in Brevard County are all booked up.