Lee County now has a reservation system in place for COVID-19 vaccinations. A hotline to register for the vaccine opened at Noon on Jan 4., and all appointments for the week were quickly reserved.
The appointments were available for frontline health care workers and people 65 and older.
Florida Department of Health Lee County, Commissioner Brian Hamman, and the vendor for the reservation system held a joint press conference to explain the reservation system.
More than one hundred people called into the WINK newsroom to report they were having issues getting through on the appointment line, saying they were getting a busy signal, being sent to a random phone line, or that a message would state the number wasn’t working. WINK News verified with the county that the number is correct, but the system was simply overwhelmed by the call volume.
Commissioner Brian Hamman reiterated that there are more than 200,000 people who live in Lee County, who are over 65, and who want the vaccine. However, only 5,000 spots were available.
Hamman added that they will continue to return calls and process appointments until 8 p.m. tonight. He reiterated you must answer the phone if you receive the callback. If you miss the call you may lose your spot.
FDOH-Lee and the vendor responsible for the registration system gave an update at 1:30 p.m. Monday. You can watch a replay above or by clicking here.
The number to call was 833-618-2001 to reserve a slot to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the new site, the old Southwest Florida International Airport terminal site on Paul J. Doherty Parkway, which is off Daniels Parkway. There will be traffic signs in operation to direct people to the site. There will be a tram from the parking area to the vaccination site.
The vaccination dates and times are Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
FDOH-Lee says information for the week of Jan. 11 will be announced later this week.
All vaccination appointments for this week have been filled. Additional reservations will open as vaccines are received by @flhealthlee and the call center will reopen at that time. Please be patient and stay tuned to our social channels for additional updates. pic.twitter.com/iPkQK49X37
— Lee County Government (@LeeCountyFLBOCC) January 4, 2021
Officials said those with appointments need to show up 45 minutes prior to their appointment, with a photo ID and necessary paperwork.
The FDOH-Lee plans to vaccinate 1,000 people on Tuesday, 2,000 on Wednesday, and 2,000 on Thursday.
Nancy LeClair camped out last week for a vaccine. “We were very disappointed on how it was first rolled out because getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning and waiting or even camping out overnight, it’s just not good for older people. Older people can’t do that.”
FDOH-Lee just announced a walk-up vaccination site for Lee County that will be taking reservations (for those over 65 or frontline healthcare workers) beginning at noon Jan. 4 by calling 833-618-2001. To save time, fill out the consent form here https://t.co/PVIr8Mzken pic.twitter.com/PvUSNCCZtc
— City of Fort Myers (@cityftmyers) January 3, 2021
Many in Lee County are thrilled that there is now an appointment system, including the Aeschlimans in Fort Myers, who say standing in the line just wasn’t feasible for them and others.
“I think the sooner you get the vaccine and if everyone follows than the sooner this whole epidemic will end,” said Alan Aeschliman.
If you have an appointment, the Department of Health in Lee County also asks that you don’t arrive for your appointment until, at most, 45 minutes before.
“We are delighted to hear they’re going to be doing appointments and we are going to be on the phone at 12 noon,” LeClair said.
DOH-Lee says not to show up if you do not have an appointment because you will be turned away.
More reservations will be accepted once the county receives more vaccines, according to Commission Chairman Kevin Ruane.
More information can be found at leegov.com/vaccine.
Click here to download a PDF of the above map.
Those with reservations can expedite the process by coming prepared: visit www.leegov.com/vaccine to read the Moderna vaccination information and to print and complete the consent form.
Social distancing and masks are encouraged; take into account weather conditions. Portable toilets, handwashing stations, drinking water and some chairs will be available. For safety and security, county government and Lee County Sheriff’s Office staff will be on site.
The following will not be permitted: Recreational Vehicles, campers or trailers. Only service animals will be permitted in the vaccination area. This is not a drive-thru site. The site is ADA compliant.
More than 6,140 shots were administered to medical workers and people 65 and older at various sites last week. (Vaccination sites officially opened Monday, Dec. 28, in Lee County.) This total does not include medical workers vaccinated at separate sites by the Florida Department of Health-Lee.
The United Way 211 line for vaccine questions is staffed 24/7. Dial 211 or 239-433-3900.
The Lee County Government website now has a section of frequently asked questions that you can access by visiting this webpage.
You can watch a replay of the press conference below or by clicking here.