Lee County COVID-19 vaccinations continue under new reservation system

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COVID-19 vaccinations continued Tuesday in Lee County at a new site near Southwest Florida International Airport. (Credit: WINK News)

The second week of COVID-19 vaccinations in Lee County got underway Tuesday morning, a day after a new reservation system was used to avoid the long lines that plagued the county’s first week of inoculations.

FDOH-Lee said the line Tuesday morning was moving quickly, with 1,000 doses of the vaccine expected to be given to those 65 and older, as well as frontline health care workers.

Those who were lucky enough to score an appointment Monday were told to arrive 45 minutes early, and FDOH-Lee said people were doing just that. No one was camping out and no one arrived early, which were issues seen last week when vaccinations got underway and appointments weren’t being taken.

The people fortunate enough to get an appointment for Tuesday said getting the shot is like winning a lottery jackpot.

“I could’ve run in here and I can’t run. I’m just excited,” said Barbara Caroselli. “I told him it was like when we were younger and wanted to get concert tickets. You’d call the radio station and hope like hell that you win.”

Barbara and husband John’s third try to get the vaccine proved to be the charm. Twice they sat in line for hours but left because they couldn’t handle it.

“At first we couldn’t believe it. That anybody could set something up like this,” John said.

“The county and people in charge listened to what other folks had to say and fixed the problem,” Barbara said.

Fixed, in their opinion, because unlike tens of thousands of people just like them, they got through on the phone and made their appointments. They say they’re buying more time.

“Pushing 80 years old, high-risk group, we’d like to be around a little longer to hang with the grandchildren, you know, enjoy life,” John said.

It was a feeling shared by so many people at the site.

“I miss my grandkids,” Barbara said. “They live just five blocks away but they go to school, they have to work, so I can’t see them, I can’t hug them, hold them. So, you know, the phone, FaceTime, but that’s all.”

The Carosellis said the first thing they’ll do once they get that second dose is give their grandkids a big hug. The second thing: go out for some nice Italian food.

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