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Bay County To Roll Out COVID-19 Vaccines For Seniors This Week

A volunteer received a shot of the experimental Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 in March as part of a safety study.
A volunteer received a shot of the experimental Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 in March as part of a safety study.

Older residents in Bay County will soon begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations at the local health department.

On Monday, the Florida Department of Health in Bay County (DOH-Bay) announced in a press release that its health care workers will begin administering the first doses of vaccine to seniors on Tuesday at its main clinic, located at 597 W. 11th St. in Panama City. The department can administer up to 100 vaccinations per day. Within less than an hour after the department shared details of this week's vaccination rollout with news outlets, all appointment slots this week (Jan. 5 - 8) had been filled.

Of the 2,000 vaccines the county has received from the state, 500 doses will go to first responders. The rest will cover health care workers and residents over 65 years old.

“We are grateful to have a very limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine for our seniors," wrote Sandon S. Speedling, administrator and health officer at DOH-Bay. "It is an important step to help them get back to a more normal way of life."

The state's latest vaccination updateshows 844 county residents had received their first dose as of Jan. 3.

A mass vaccination event that's set to take place from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Callaway Arts and Conference Center, located at 500 Callaway Pkwy., also quickly became booked. At the event, health department officials expect to administer 75 doses every two hours — which is up to 300 vaccinations in a single day.

After all available appointments for this week were filled, health department officials advised via email that they'd notify the public again when they're sure they can schedule more appointments.

"We are committed to getting vaccines to our community, but we also request patience as we await additional doses of the vaccine,” Speedling wrote in the release.

Residents who can't book an appointment online may call the health department at
(850) 872-4455.

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.