The Ultimate Guide for Seniors Vaccination Program in Sarasota Florida
By: Rosemarie Tamunday Casanova — RN, BSN, MHA
Florida alone has had about 1.76 million cases of the COVID 19 and over 25,000 of them have been from Sarasota county. The Sarasota community has also suffered 651 deaths of the total 27,456 in the state. With a population of over 400,000, Sarasota county is set to be fully thrown into the race to get their equitable share in the vaccination program going on across the country.
As the United States of America heads towards a commendable start towards the COVID 19 vaccination program down to the states and counties, Florida has not been left out in the campaign. However, if you are 65 years and above or know someone who is and lives in the county of Sarasota, then this may interest you.
In a turn out of events, the Department of Health in the Sarasota county announced that it would not go ahead with the vaccination system run by the state. As an alternative, the Department of Health in Sarasota has decided to forge ahead in its vaccination campaign by using a different registration system, its very own Everbridge systems.
This system was launched on the 20th of January. Florida has been receiving 260,000 doses of the vaccine in recent weeks and as more doses of the vaccine are made available, more people get a chance to receive their own shots.
So far, the number of people that have been vaccinated in Florida seats at 1.89 million. Out of this number, 554,502 have gotten their second vaccine shots. In Sarasota county, the numbers look smaller - 46,990 have been vaccinated as of February 5. Of this category of Sarasota county vaccine recipients, only 12,909 have received their second shots.
The county has announced that it expects to get 7000 of the Moderna COVID 19 vaccine next week which would be given to people who are waiting to get their first doses. There are 7,474 people waiting in line to receive these shots.
Anyone who needs to receive the COVID 19 vaccination in the county would have to go through a simple process which will be outlined below.
First, the vaccination program is made accessible to only three categories of people:
- Frontline healthcare workers
- Medical and health personnels who work in hospitals and healthcare establishments, who come across patients and are at risk of being exposed to the virus.
- Elderly population above 65 years; This category are at risk of severe illness when they contract the virus , especially due to the presence of other disease conditions associated with age.
- People in long-term facilities.
- Elderly or disabled people residing in nursing homes as well as the workers who provide care to them.
Things to Remember
The Registration Process
The vaccination and appointments is based on a queue system. Once registration is complete, you are automatically added to the queue. Once vaccines are available , you will get a call to arrange an appointment. The registration comes with a unique set of registration number. This number can even give you an idea of where you are in the queue.
Once you are contacted to set up an appointment and the notification has been sent to you, you will have two hours to either confirm or decline your appointment. Should you choose to decline this appointment, the system automatically rolls you over to the next in line so you have to start all over again.
Please ensure to look out for the right emails which will be sent directly by the Department of health in Sarasota county . Either this, or you will get a call from 941-861-8297 or a text from 88911.
Who is Eligible for the Vaccines in Sarasota?
As mentioned earlier, three categories of people are to be considered for vaccination. They are frontline healthcare providers, people above the age of 65 and long term care facility residents and staff.
This is with effect to the executive order number 20-315 as issued by the governor of Florida , Ron DeSantis in December. Only state residents , either full-time or part-time are eligible for the vaccination . This will be determined by a proof of residency (either a valid ID card, utility bills or a drivers license).
To stay updated on the latest information on the vaccination program in Sarasota and other related issues, you can choose to sign up for the county’s emergency alert system by texting SRQCOVID19 to 888777.
Venue for the Vaccination
For both first and second doses of the vaccination, the venue is at Sarasota square mall at 8201 S Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.
What are the Time Intervals for the Vaccine?
This would depend on which of the vaccines you get. The department of health uses two types ; Pfizer and Moderna. Should you get the Pfizer vaccine your next appointment for a second booster dose will be in 21 days. But if Moderna was used, then 28 days after will be the date of the new appointment.
Are there Side effects to Covid-19 vaccines?
As with every drug, COVID 19 vaccines can present with their own side effects. Most of these side effects are mild and do not last for a long period of time. However, extra attention should be paid to the elderly after these vaccines are administered. The side effects include the following:
- Tenderness of the injection site; This tends to last for about one to two days after the vaccine is administered.
- Headache; This is usually mild and can be treated with Tylenol tablets.
- Mild flu-like symptoms
- Fever which may last for for a few days.
Usually, these symptoms fade away within a week of vaccination . If they get worse than these or last for a considerably longer period of time, medical attention should be sort.
Finally, the elderly population may also have another fear, a justifiable one at that. Seeing that people above 65 may have one form of health condition or the other associated with age and may be on routine medication for such conditions as arthritis, hypertension, diabetes among others, it is probably expected to get suspicious and curious as to whether the vaccine can interact with these medications.
The answer to this is no. The vaccines are safe and do not interact with other medications. However, it is good that you disclose to your physician your vaccination history as well as to the vaccination team.
Frustrations have been expressed as to how the vaccines are being doled out in the county . Citizens have registered their displeasure on the issue and Mayor Hagen Brody has promised residents of Sarasota that he would go over the state for federal assistance if the need arises, to see to it that they get enough of the vaccines.
As the United States battles to bring the pandemic to its knees, an effective seamless vaccination process would help tremendously in curbing the number of people that would have to be at risk from falling ill again.
All elderly people 65 years and above are therefore advised to participate in this program, get registered on the website or call the designated number and wait their turns to get a shot.
Hopefully, as more of the vaccines are made available to states and their counties, the process will take shorter waiting times and more people will get their chances faster.
This brings hope and casts some reassuring light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that with time, we can indeed beat the COVID 19 virus and return to normal times.