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Jacksonville rolls out COVID-19 vaccines, hundreds line up early

The city discouraged people from lining up before 10 a.m. That edict was ignored.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — At the Mandarin Senior Center on Hartley Road, the line for a COVID-19 vaccines began forming before the crack of dawn.

This even though the city discouraged the public from lining up before 10 a.m. That edict was ignored.

"I arrived at 7:45 a.m. and the line was already long," said Lena Wheeler.

By mid-morning hundreds were in the line. It was so long, it wrapped around the one-story building. 

Some came with their walkers, some with folding chairs, everyone with their patience.

At one point, the city provided vouchers to some, which allowed them to return later in the day.

Chris Miller left early to take his 91-year-old mother home. 

"I had to go home and take medication," she said.

They plan to return so she can get vaccinated. The Pfizer vaccine is being made available to those age 65 and older, and first responders, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Only 500 doses are available daily at the Mandarin Senior Center while supplies last.

"My joints hurt, but we are having fun," said Dr. Mo Kamiar. "I hope to get the shot as soon as possible."

Kamiar said he and his wife drove from Atlantic Boulevard to the Mandarin Senior Center. 

"I believe in taking prevention," he said.

Connie Rennie, 72, said she was 18th in line.

"The main reason I am here is so I can kiss my grandchildren," said Rennie.

She said she has not been able to hug her 5- and 7-year-old grandchildren and that has been a hole in her life.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," said Rennie.

Rennie waited about three hours to be vaccinated and said the wait was worth it.

"In two more weeks I can hug and kiss them," she said.

The city has 11,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines and will make it available to those high risk groups while supplies last.

It began with those born in the months of January and February on Monday and will follow with those born in the months of March and April on Tuesday and so forth through Saturday.

Those who desire to be vaccinated and meet the eligibility must fill out form at city's website, wear a mask and bring a photo ID as proof of residency.

For more information click here.