In Lee County, hundreds of people lined up again overnight for their shots on Tuesday, with the situation turning hostile at times.
All three sites — one each in Bonita Springs, Lehigh Acres and Fort Myers — were at capacity before the clinics were set to open at 9 a.m.
In Bonita Springs, people who waited in the early morning lines called it “mayhem,” with people pushing and shoving, but deputies got it under control fairly quickly.
People in line were given a red ticket with a number on it, which meant they were going to get the vaccine. Then, some people got a half ticket, which meant they were on standby to get the vaccine if enough were left. There were 800 doses available, officials said.
Everyone in the line had a story about why they wanted the shot. To them, it means freedom.
Some people tried to get the vaccine Monday at the Estero site, but were turned away and got in line in Bonita Springs early Tuesday. They came prepared with blankets, chairs, water, and some even brought games to play.
Initially, Lee County said there would be 400 shots at each location, but the numbers are fluid and changing.
People were already lining up Monday evening at the S.T.A.R.S. Complex in Fort Myers.
The county is advising people not to camp out, but it isn’t stopping anyone from doing so.
The crowds were calm and cooperative, as they waited for the shots to begin.
“It’s just unreal how they did it. It was perfect. Everything was they told what was going on, how long it was going to be,” said Tom Lauzon of Cape Coral. “They had the military here. Everything was well organized, hundreds of people to make this thing happen today.”
Officials say printing out the consent form at home and having it ready helps keep the line moving.
NORTH FORT MYERS
By the time the first shot was given at 9 a.m., the line wrapped around the parking lot and down Gunnery Road.
The Department of Health was originally planning to give 300, possibly 400, doses at the site Tuesday, but they increased it to 600. That many people were already in line before 8 a.m.
Once people get the vaccine, they’re handed a card with the date they received it and are asked to wait inside for 15 minutes in case they start to experience side effects.
One of the first in line spent the night of his 78th birthday waiting for the vaccine. He said the wait was worth it.
“We just need a date when we come back; we haven’t got that yet, so they’re not quite organized with the next shot, and then I think it’s a week or two after that and we’re back to normal, see our family, travel, anything we want to do,” Frank Conway said.
DOH-Lee cut the line off at 600 people at 7:30am. Many people we spoke to agree logistics need to be worked out, but they were simply happy to get one.
The City of Cape Coral is warning about traffic congestion in the Cultural Park area due to the COVID-19 vaccine site that is expected there Wednesday.
Anyone who lives or drives in the area is told to use caution due to the increased activity that will be there for the vaccine site.
Charlotte County says it has 2,000 vaccines ready and will open its first public vaccination site Wednesday for high-risk frontline health care workers and people 65 and older.
The drive-thru clinic will be held at the Harold Avenue Regional Park, 23400 Harold Ave., beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Appointments are required and can be made online at www.coadfl.org.
A limited number of appointments are available.
There is no fee for the vaccine. Identification is required. If you are a health care worker, bring identification and a copy of your ID badge or a current paystub.
Collier County doesn’t have the vaccine yet for the general public and doesn’t have a timeline for when it will be in.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health-Collier said it is learning from sites that are already operational, like in Lee County.
The county does expect to get the vaccine later this week.
Hendry and Glades
Officials with the Departments of Health in Hendry and Glades counties say they will get the vaccine this week.
The two departments will then distribute the vaccines according to the order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis.