TAMPA, Fla. — The COVID-19 vaccine remains extremely sought after and in short supply across the country.
Penny Thompson and her husband split their time between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Pinellas County. They say it’s been rough trying to get an appointment.
“The last one that they just had last week was 8000 shots and I’m assuming at the stroke of 10, 50,000 people were trying to get on. We did try we didn’t get it and that’s all right,” Thompson said.
Up until last week, anyone 65 and older could come to Florida and get the vaccine but concerns of medical tourism and vaccine vacations pushed the state to enforce certain restrictions.
“I guess if I’m looking at it from my home state of Ohio, I wouldn’t be happy if people came in and got it ahead of me that were not legitimately living there,” Thompson said. “And you don’t have to live there full-time to be legitimately living there because we don’t live in Ohio full-time anymore.”
It’s why the state is allowing folks who only live here part-time the opportunity to get vaccinated — they just have to prove they are actually residents.
That can be done through a Florida ID or driver's license, utility bill, government mail, lease agreement, or mortgage payment.
“We have a utility bill but that’s in my name because I’m the one that came down and got a setup but we live in a mobile home so our registration is in both names and it shows that we are owners here,” said Thompson.
She says their names are also on the mobile home park’s registration.
But some folks tell us, they don’t have documentation. One man says he and his wife come down here every year but stay with friends and while they do pay rent, the bills aren’t in their name.
He’s concerned he’s now stuck here for 3 months without the opportunity to get vaccinated.
ABC Action News reached out to the state for clarification — this is what officials say:
Under the Public Health Advisory [urldefense.com] on January 21, to prove residency an adult resident must provide a copy of his or her valid Florida driver license or a copy of a valid Florida identification card. Residents can provide:
1. A deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, mortgage payment booklet or residential rental or lease agreement.
- One proof of residential address from the season resident’s parent, step-parent or legal guardian or other person with whom the seasonal resident resides and a statement from the person with whom the seasonal resident resides stating that the seasonal resident does reside with him or her.
- A utility hookup or work order dated within 60 days before registration.
- A utility bill, not more than 2 months old.
- Mail from a financial institution, including checking, savings, or investment account statements, not more than 2 months old.
- Mail from a federal, state, county, or municipal government agency, not more than 2 months old.