After winter weather delays, more COVID-19 vaccines finally headed to SWFL

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:
Credit: AP News.

Nearly 20,000 shots will arrive in Southwest Florida this week after extreme cold across the nation caused delays in distribution.

The effects of last week’s winter weather up North is lingering this week in sunny Florida.

Anne Lennon is from Punta Gorda and says her morning ritual is to fight for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. “You couldn’t log in this morning because there were no appointments, so I don’t know what’s gonna happen on Wednesday and Friday.”

Publix announced it was not scheduling first dose appointments due to a shipment delay caused by all that snow.

The supermarket chain did not say when it’s reopening its appointment portal.

“There’s a storm up north, but people are still traveling. So why can’t they at least get some vaccines down here?” Lennon asked.

They’re finally on their way, with more than 400,000 shots coming to the state this week.

But, we’ll get fewer than 20,000 here in Southwest Florida.

Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties all stopped scheduling or rescheduled appointments this week, anticipating a delay.

Lee and Charlotte have since received a shipment.

Charlotte County Communications Manager Brian Gleason explained, “We didn’t know if we were going to get the shipment of vaccines in time, and when we found out we were going to get them, it was too late to rearrange everything.”

Seniors in Southwest Florida are antsy to get that vaccine, so they can eventually get back to normal and find freedom and safety again.

The Florida Department of Health said Publix would get 70,000 doses of vaccine to be distributed across the state.

Publix did not respond to our request for comment on when the stores might start making appointments again.

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