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Hillsborough County rolls out COVID-19 vaccine to people 65+

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Posted at 9:36 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 22:00:58-05

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Some people rolled up their sleeves and got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Hillsborough County on Wednesday. Hundreds of cars processed through lines as the county began public vaccinations for people 65 years and older.

“I’m tickled pink just to get it,” said Ron Duncan.

County officials say they expect about 1,000 people at each vaccination distribution site each day. Duncan and his wife were one of the many people who got the vaccine at the Strawberry Festival fairgrounds location in Plant City.

“We’re so happy to get it done, and it’s another step,” said Duncan. “One more step after this, and we should be on the downhill side.”

The drive-thru sites are set up so people stay in their car the entire time. When you arrive for an appointment, you’ll first go through a screening station to check your appointment confirmation and go over paperwork.

After that, you’ll get the vaccine and follow to an observation area for a short period of monitoring. You’ll then set up an appointment for your second dose.

Officials ask people to show up to the site at their scheduled time and not very early.

“Feeling great, no problem, not even sore yet,” said Sharon Rhodes, who got the vaccine Wednesday.

The county says they had a few challenges Wednesday with the initial onslaught of people coming to one location and getting those people through the process and then with setting up future appointments.

Hillsborough County Fire Deputy Chief of Operations Jason Dougherty said Wednesday they think they have gotten the process down to about an hour, but he still asks for patience.

“We’ve been working through our process with that to help alleviate the long lines and get people out the door,” said Dougherty.

Appointments remain mandatory in Hillsborough County. The county filled all available vaccine appointments and will not be making further appointments until more vaccines become available, but they say they expect to be able to offer more appointments next week.

“I’m anxious to kind of feel normal again,” said Shelley Hansley, who got the vaccine. “Even in our neighborhood everyone’s been cautious on distancing, but just to start feeling social again and involved in the community.”

Vaccinations are scheduled in Hillsborough County through Saturday.