JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Starting Monday, adults in Florida ages 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but not everyone is racing to get a spot in line.
“I’m kind of waiting for everyone else to get it and see if we go back to normal and hopefully I won’t have to [get it],” 22-year-old Taylor Foster said.
Foster said despite vaccine criteria opening up, she won’t be getting the shot any time soon.
“I think I’m going to pass on it for a little while. I just don’t know enough information about the shot and what it fully does to my body. I think it’s too new,” she said.
Kimberly Dehler agreed. She said she’s skeptical of possible side effects of the shot. She also wants to see how it affects others before rolling up her sleeve.
“I wouldn’t be one of the first to run down there and sign up,” Dehler said.
”I absolutely will wait it out longer to see how the masses do once it’s implemented for a younger crowd,” she said.
Several doctors have told First Coast News that the shot is safe and they haven’t seen severe side effects. FCN asked people on Facebook, “Do you plan on getting the COVID-19 vaccine Monday when all Florida adults are eligible?”
Responses varied from “absolutely,” to “NOPE,” to “sign me up.”
“It’s not like we get the shot and we’ll be able to run right out,” Miereya Gray, who is getting the shot, said. “I know that we’ll still have to wear masks and things like that, but it will help everyone,” she said.
Gray plans to pre-register for the shot.
“If everyone can get a vaccine, it has always been the case it can help protect everyone else,” she said.
There are several options when it comes to sites for those 18 and older to get the shot come Monday. You can go to the Gateway site, Regency, Edward Waters College, Celebration Church, the Legend’s Center or pharmacies in stores like Publix, CVS, Walmart, Winn Dixie, or Harvey’s.
If you’re 16 or 17, though, you can only go to sites that offer Pfizer. Those sites include Gateway Monday only, Regency, Celebration Church or the Legend’s Center. You can also go to Panama Pharmacy in Jacksonville, but you have to make an appointment.
If you want to go to a pharmacy in the box stores, call ahead. Winn Dixie, Harvey’s and Publix are all giving Moderna. The type of vaccine pharmacies at Walmart and CVS administer could depend on the location. You also have to bring a COVID-19 vaccine screening and consent form if you’re 16 or 17, but don’t fill it out until you’re in front of a nurse at the site. They have to witness you sign it. A parent or guardian also has to come with you.
Starting Tuesday, Gateway will only administer Johnson & Johnson first doses and second doses for those who got their first doses at Gateway. A state spokesperson said this change was made “in order to reduce confusion regarding first and second doses due to ongoing changes at the federally-supported vaccination sites,” and to “streamline the vaccination process at the sites.”
The spokesperson also said the change was able to be made because Florida is receiving an increased allocation of the J&J vaccine.
Gateway will administer up to 3,000 one-dose J&J doses per day with the change. Once Gateway’s satellite sites finish administering all second doses, they will close. Gateway and the other federally supported sites across the state will stay open until May 26. This is an additional four weeks. They were supposed to close on April 28. The state will help as far as resources for the sites to stay open.
All individuals under the age of 18 receiving a vaccine must be accompanied by a guardian, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management. They must also complete a COVID-19 vaccine screening and consent form.
People who want to preregister for the COVID-19 vaccine can do so at www.myvaccine.fl.gov. Click "get in line." You'll be asked to answer some questions. Once you sign up at that site, you will be contacted when the vaccine is available in your area.
You can also call the vaccination preregistration phone number for your county, listed here.