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Polk County opens walk-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic, closes online portal

Vaccine
Posted at 6:04 PM, Apr 20, 2021

HAINES CITY, Fla. — Polk County is no longer using its online COVID-19 vaccine portal and is transitioning to walk-up clinics.

The Florida Department of Health in Polk County is hosting a walk-up vaccination clinic once a week. Gary Anderson just got his shot.

“As more and more people have gotten it, it’s gotten so much easier and so much simpler, no more long lines,” Anderson said.

It's the first walk-up event since Polk County stopped accepting new registrations on its online vaccine portal.

The Department of Health said it saw a decrease in online registrations. They said vaccines are more widely available and people have more places to get them.

“We have well over 200,000 individuals who have been vaccinated which is great. We want to continue to see that number rise, so holding walk-up events like this will also allow for individuals to come in,” said Nicole Riley with the Department of Health in Polk County

However, health officials said Polk County is lagging in vaccinations. Only 18% of eligible people are fully vaccinated and Lakeland Regional Health said it’s seen an uptick in positive cases.

“We are definitely moving in the wrong direction which is a bit concerning. After the second wave we had hoped we would be over the bulk of it. So, the fact that we are seeing cases on the rise in the county is means for alarm and another indicator that we need to get people vaccinated,” said April Novotny, Chief Nurse Executive Lakeland Regional Health.

You can still call Lakeland Regional Health to make a vaccine appointment if you want one.

“I think its critically important that we get as many people protected as we can as quickly as we can. The longer we continue having COVID cases pop up you’ll see additional variants,” Novotny said.

The next walk-up site event is scheduled for April 28 at the Lake Eva Event Center in Haines City.