The UPS delivery man dropped them off at the Flagler County Health Department around 11 a.m. this morning, along with the usual dental and medical supplies he drops off every morning. They came in a white box, the kind of box sized for a dozen bottles of wine, in this case containing about 1,000 vials of Moderna’s early-vintage Covid-19 vaccine.
Cavalries in the Covid age come in boxes and vials and wait in fridges for the shooting to start.
Bob Snyder, the director of the health department, then did what he’s been waiting to do since the beginning of the pandemic that continues to ravage communities: He stood with the delivery man and Dawn Kamen, the registered nurse who oversees the department’s immunology program, and took a thumbs-up portrait of the trio to signify the beginning of the end for the pandemic. “We have been waiting for this day obviously for months,” he said this evening.
This is the first of a regular stream of shipments to the Health Department, though it’s still not clear when the next batch will be and how much it will consist of–only that it will be “very, very soon,” including a batch next week.
What is certain is this: Starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, the Health Department and the county’s Emergency Management division will enact the latest of their nearly-yearlong partnership, administering vaccines at the Emergency Operations Center in Bunnell for 90 minutes to two hours, first up with a list of priority personnel: firefighter-paramedics and front-line health-care workers.
We wanted to make everyone aware of this next phase that includes providing vaccines to paramedics, fire rescue, Health Department staff, and other health-care workers,” Snyder said.
Vaccinations will continue the next day at the Emergency Operations Center for the same group, and again on Saturday at the Flagler County Fairgrounds (150 Sawgrass Road, Bunnell) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tuesday’s candidates for vaccination have been pre-arranged, so it’s not a walk-up event. But it will be in subsequent days, without appointments but with conditions for those health-care workers who are seeking immunization. They must not work for a hospital or a long-term care facility. “We’re asking that they bring their ID or license or documentation that they work for a doctor’s office, a clinic, home health care agency, urgent care, hospice, just as examples,” Snyder said.
AdventHealth Palm Coast received its batch of vaccines earlier, as did many hospitals across the state. Eligibility this week will be limited to those groups. Next in line will be assisted living facilities, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, but that part of the vaccination program is assumed by Walgreens and CVS under a federal umbrella.
“There’s a lot of health care personnel in our community that we want to vaccinate, so this is their first opportunity,” Snyder said. “Then next week, we expect another allotment, we do not know how much yet or when it will arrive, but we do expect a weekly allotment to our local health departments to begin mass vaccination for those over the age of 65. We just don’t know the actual start date yet, but it is soon, because we expect another allotment next week.”
The focus on people 65 and over in part contradicts guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which advises that all front-line, essential workers be given priority, along with people 75 and older in the first phases. Florida is bucking that guidance in accordance with a governor’s order. “We are asked to follow that closely, which we will,” Snyder said.
The Health Depatrtment acquired a fridge dedicated for vaccine storage. The Moderna vaccine doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-low temperatures, the way the Pfizer vaccine must. Moderna can be at between -13 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 to -15 Centigrade). It can be stored for up to a month, though the department expects the batch to be used up much sooner than that. Those are just the first doses: every individual must in a few weeks submit to a second dose for the vaccine to reach its 95-percent effectiveness. All vaccinations will be voluntary.
Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to take a heavy toll, with single-week confirmed cases in Flagler County setting yet another record, at 270, for a cumulative total of 3,565. The state Health Department publicly reports 48 deaths in Flagler. An internal health department document places the total at 49, plus one “probable” case that would bring the total to 50.
Starting January 4, Covid-19 testing will continue between 1:30 PM and 3 p.m. weekdays on the county airport grounds, across from 120 Airport Road. There will be no testing at Cattleman’s Hall that week. These are PCR, not rapid, tests. PCR tests are the gold standard. Residents should note that there are other locations in Flagler County that provide Covid-19 testing, including two Mediquick locations, CentraCare and CVS Pharmacies. Please confirm with each site in advance as most require appointments for COVID testing.
The Moderna Vaccine Fact Sheet:
Click to access Fact-sheet-recipients-caregivers-Moderna-COVID-19-vaccine.pdf
David S. says
All first responders should get this first Doctors, Nurses, Fire and Police…..
Where is the effective leadership and communication of vaccine distribution information from Flagler officials? What’s the purpose of so-called “official” websites? Instead, I have to go to other sources. What’s up? They are behaving like the keystone cops in Flagler County. No excuse.
There should have been a distribution plan that included a communication plan, with contingencies months ago. For those of us paying taxes in this County, I expect more professionalism and a higher caliber of expertise than what I’m getting.
Thank goodness for information sources such as Flaglerlive and ClickOrlando.
From clickorlando.com today –
The Florida Department of Health in Flagler County received its first round COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 28 and is working with Flagler County Emergency Management to finalize distribution.
Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said doses in this initial shipment have been earmarked specifically for healthcare providers in our community. It is anticipated that other priority groups, particularly those over the age of 65, can begin to receive vaccinations in the coming weeks, as additional doses are delivered.
Healthcare professionals who do not work directly for a hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility can receive the vaccination Saturday, Jan. 2 at a one-day event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Flagler County Fairgrounds in Bunnell.
Flagler County residents 65 and older will be able to make appointments to be vaccinated starting in early January. Once the county is ready to start making reservations for those residents it will share a phone number. The timing will depend on when the health department receives the next allotment of vaccine but possibly as early as Jan. 4.
Gretchen Smith says
There’s been a considerable amount of planning. The big challenge is how and when we receive vaccine. I’d be happy to answer your questions. Call Monday at 386-437-7350 and ask for me.
They didn’t even ask of my wife is a health care professional. She is but they didn’t even ask.
NORMA KAPPEL says
cannot make appointments at number given as it states that no messages can be taken . I have called this number weeks prior and the same message is give. How do we at ages 80 and 83 make an appointment to obtain our vaccines? Have called the health department and was cut off three times prior to obtaining the so called appointment telephone number. Please advise.
Antonio Almazan says
Where can we register to receive the vaccine?We are 74 years old and lives in Palm Coast?
Percy's mother says
Just reading some of the comments on the Facebook account for FlaglerLive.
Someone posted that healthcare workers are required to have the coronavirus vaccine.
Well, I worked at a major trauma center for 20 years, and resigned in 2019. Just had conversations over the past weekend with some former colleagues at that particular trauma center / hospital. As with the yearly flu shot, employees have the option of declining (with signature) the yearly flu shot as well as the coronavirus vaccine.
A lot of false information (as usual) circulating that people on Facebook mistake for being accurate.
So, as per my conversations with previous colleagues at the trauma center / hospital, no employee is being required to take the Covid / coronavirus vaccine, and there is (as usual) the option to decline with signature (as is per usual in years past).
Who starts all this false information?
Interesting since I spoke to the Flagler County Health Dept. yesterday, Dec. 28 at approximately 3 p.m. and they told me they knew nothing about a roll out of the vaccine yet and could give me no information whatsoever about it. They suggested I go to another county that had the vaccines if I needed it!
FYI to all: I went to CVS/Pharm in PC to make a reservation for the vax. I was told they have no vaccines, they did not know when they would receive them, and for me to try again in mid-February.
Don't Cull Me says
I am trying to get info from the Health Department about the upcoming vaccinations for those who are at increased risk of serious problems or death from underlying conditions but who are not yet 65. I can’t get anyone to answer the phone. So, I’m seeing if anyone here has information they can share. How do we get a vaccine? Do we need a note or something from our doctors stating the need for a vaccine? Are those healthy 65 year old plus residents going to step aside so those with more urgent health needs get vaccinated first? The details being released to the pubic aren’t very well spelled out. Stay Safe everyone.
This is great news. I am glad I was told about your site. The county has less information. Called the health dept. and spoke to a wonderfully informative person. However, she had no idea about a plan for seniors, made excuses as to why the website is not up to date and said I should either come here for information or try “some” radio stations.
I have to say a few things about this. 1. it does not sound like they have a plan and counties wonder why thier sites crash when folks start signing up. 2. we get minute by minute updates on thier website of hurricanes that are 800 miles away. They need a planning chart like.
How many vaccines will we get
who will give the shots
how many seniors over 65 do we have
how much can our server handle at one time.
If you don’t have the answers to these questions it’s why they can’t communicate a plan.
I happen to live in the Rima Ridge area which is kind of the forgotten zone of Flagler county with the exception of a few donors to a one political party.
This response on the communication side of the Flagler Health dept is horrible. This is 2020 not 1990.
A news organization that gets information out days before the dept. of the Gov that handles that information should be intolerable.
Well now I have vented and feel assured there are others that feel that way and it will remain this way. Would be interesting to see a response that makes sense and not excuses.
[Note: the commenter is not accurate. Vaccines for 65 and over begin in early January, broader vaccination begins in late winter or early spring. Herd immunity is expected by late spring or early summer.–FL]
So sad to see this happening in my own home town. I wish you all luck but looks like we will be locked down for another year or so thanks to bad leadership.
Looks like the politicians will get the vaccine before anyone. This is BS in my book.
Dr. George says
My wife and I are in our 70’s, we live in Palm Coast and we are trying to find out about covid-19 vaccinations. Like other counties, where is the website to register and sign up? Will this be a free-for-all with no appointment option or will there be the ability to make an appointment? How soon in advance will you know how many doses the county will receive? If we can make an appointment, will you be able to make it for two people (my wife and I) or will we need to make an appointment for each person (what if you both arrive in the same car – need the same appointment time)? If you are able to vaccinate 200 and there are greater than 200 in line (if free-for-all) will someone cut off the line so we are not waiting for hours? It seems like there should have been a plan developed months ago and made available to the residents. With more eyes on the plan there may have been suggestions from residents to make things easier for everyone. Please hurry and get the vaccine in our arms.
Eddy Rayford says
Was just watching the county commissioners meeting from Dec 7. Jonathan Lord (Emerg Management) was asked what the vaccine plan was. He replied that they would probably let those 65+ know where to go get the shots…in other words a free for all. I too have called our Health Dept many times with no useful information. They could have had sign-ups a month ago and then when ready, do a sort and notify the next group for the shots. We have signed up for the vaccine in Putnam County and will wait to see if Flagler or Putnam is first.
Stephen Kaplan says
My wife and I have been residents of Flagler Country for 30 years. We are both over 65 yrs old. We understand that we are next in line for the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available. What we don’t understand is why Flagler County hasn’t established a plan for registration and scheduling for this procedure prior to vaccination. Why is it so difficult to disseminate information to the public. It makes no sense to wait until the vaccine is available for a plan to be established to avoid last minute pandemonium.
Annabelle yonick says
My husband and I are in our 80’s and have been homeowners in Flagler County 21 years. We too want to know why the only form of communication for any updates is text. Well I heard one of our officials reference I guess there are people who don’t text so there will be a phone number coming I want to let him know I am one who can not text. A phone number should have been published just like the text was so we could be alerted of updates. I am like many others who wish they could register and not be expected to sit in their car for hours hoping to get vaccine
Just read another FlaglerLive article about the Covid-19 inoculation that occurred today at the Flagler Fairgrounds. This article stated clearly that you HAD to have an appointment but yet the article that just came out Saturday afternoon stated that there were people 65 and older that just showed up and were NOT turned away. This is a total bunch of BULLSHIT! If you need an appointment then why were those people in line and inoculated? I respect the fact that there are groups of people that should come first before someone like me who is 76 with just a few underlying conditions. BUT as far as I am concerned those that showed up WITHOUT an appointment who are 65 or older should have been turned away respectfully and allow those that REALLY need the vaccine to be inoculated first. All I can say is what a CF!
The three times we’ve reported on vaccines in Flagler in the last five days, we reported that today’s event was notby appointment, though it was specified by the health department that they would be only for health care workers, not people 65 and over. As it turned out, the department could not turn people 65 and over if they showed up, but did not want to advertise today’s event as open to all, wanting the priority on health care workers.