Vaccine for seniors available in Charlotte County Wednesday, Dec 30, 2020

By Betsy Calvert, Charlotte Sun Staff Writer, Dec 29, 2020 

Charlotte County will offer the first doses of coronavirus vaccine to the public age 65 and over starting Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Harold Avenue Regional Park at 23400 Harold Ave in Port Charlotte.

Seniors must set an appointment. Appointments will be available for Wednesday as well as next week.

The county received 2,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine Monday, Health Chief Joe Pepe told The Daily Sun on Tuesday. This is in addition to the thousands of doses going to area hospitals for their staff.

The county will use several hundred of these Moderna doses on Tuesday to vaccinate emergency medical staff, who are the county’s firefighters, Pepe said.

The rest will be available to the public, age 65 and over, according to a priority set by Gov. Ron DeSantis last week.

But you can’t just go to 23400 Harold Ave. and get vaccinated. You must register first, hopefully online at www.coadfl.org, Pepe said.

He said if the software isn’t ready on time, residents should call the local health department at 941-624-7200 for an appointment.

This is the first of two doses required for the Moderna vaccine for maximum immunity. The doses must be 28 days apart.

Anyone receiving a vaccine will be required to wait 15 minutes on site to ensure no allergic reaction, which happens on very rare occasions.

After more than a million COVID doses delivered so far in the United States, there have been a handful of allergic reactions for people with known allergies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The CDC is advising anyone with severe allergies to discuss with their doctor whether to receive the vaccine for COVID-19.

People vaccinated will receive a vaccine card, Pepe said, showing when they were vaccinated and with which vaccine, in this case, Moderna.

Each vaccination will be recorded in the state’s database on vaccination, Pepe said, but so far, not in a national database. So, if someone gets their first Moderna dose here in Florida, and then goes to another state four weeks from now, they will want to show their card to confirm the correct timing for the second dose.

Pepe said it will be up to individuals at this point to keep track of which vaccine they get and when they need the second dose.

Clinical staff will not be checking for residency to receive the vaccine, he said.

Pepe said he is relieved to be offering vaccines to the public.

“For a year, we’ve been on the defensive,” he said of fighting the coronavirus. “We’re finally able to be on the offensive.”

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