ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pinellas County was selected as part of a pilot program to be among the first two counties in Florida to provide vaccines to those in skilled nursing facilities.
6,700 staff and residents have been vaccinated across the county's 68 Skilled Nursing Facilities within five days of the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine.
Vaccines were also provided to EMS, Fire Rescue and other healthcare personnel. More than 12,300 people have been vaccinated in the county to date.
The county says its next priority is setting a vaccine plan for those who are 65 years old or older.
"While we're starting to see vaccines arrive in Pinellas County, the numbers are going to be very low for a while until the stock can be built up," said Thomas Iovino, Public Information Officer with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.
The health department will start vaccinations for people 65 or older on Tuesday, January 5.
The health department's reservation system is expected to go live at noon on January 4. People must make an appointment online or by calling the health department.
The health department has not released details on locations for vaccinations.
"We need to make sure we have those locations marked out properly and make sure we have proper traffic management. Once we have all those lined up, we'll be able to announce those locations," said Iovino.
Iovino encourages everyone to take precautions as New Year's Eve approaches.
"It's more important now than ever. Now we see the light at the end of the tunnel to not give up on our standard precautionary measures we've been advising since March and that includes wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently and staying home if you feel sick and maintaining a social distance," said Iovino.