The recent increase in vaccination sites means COVID-19 vaccinations are easier to get in South Florida. Many sites do not require appointments.
Okeechobee County has regular vaccination pods for the first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesdays, starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center off State Road 710. For the past month, the state appointment system has not made enough appointments for all of the available doses, so the remaining doses have been offered on a “first come, first served” basis.
Glades County offers the Moderna vaccine with first doses by appointment or walk-in on Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Glades County Regional Training Center on State Road 78.
In Hendry County, COVID-19 vaccinations are available for those with appointments or walk-ins on Wednesdays at the Hendry County Health Department in LaBelle, 1140 Pratt Blvd. and on Thursdays at the Hendry County Health Department in Clewiston, 1100 S. Olympia. Previously the vaccinations have been offered in the mornings or afternoons. This week they are trying later hours with vaccinations from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Palm Beach County offers “pop up” vaccination sites throughout the county. There is also a vaccination drive-thru at Anquan Boldin Stadium. To register for an appointment or for more information, go online to www.hcdpbc.org. For dates and times of pop-up clinics in the Glades, see the Guardians of the Glades Facebook page.
Florida Medicaid offers free transportation to a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Once your vaccine appointment is scheduled, let your Medicaid plan know you need a ride and they will take care of the rest. If you are not enrolled in a plan, call the Medicaid Helpline at 1-877-254-1055 to find out the name and phone number for a transportation service.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) offers vaccination help for homebound seniors. E-mail HomeboundVaccine@em.myflorida.com with the name and phone number to put in a request. Someone from the Florida Division of Emergency Management will contact you within 72 hours to collect more information and schedule your appointment.
Any Florida resident over the age of 18 may obtain a free COVID-19 vaccination at any vaccination site in the state. Proof of state residency is required.
Publix, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS all offer COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment. All require appointments be made through their websites. Some pharmacies that are not part of a national chain, such as Family Drugs of Indiantown and Heartland Pharmacy in Okeechobee, also have vaccine.
As of the April 12 report from the Florida Department of Health, 7,291,420 Floridians have received at least one dose of a covid vaccine and 4,447,965 have completed the vaccinated series.
Around the Big Lake, those vaccinated include:
• Glades County: 2,368 total, 1,782 series complete;
• Hendry County: 9,191 total, 5,507 series complete;
• Martin County: 63,734 total, 42,713 series complete;
• Okeechobee County: 9,218 total, 5,924 series complete;
• Palm Beach County: 532,263 total, 339,406 series complete.
Health officials encourage those over the age of 18 to be vaccinated as the virus continues to spread. Variants of the virus, which are more contagious than the initial strain, have been found in Florida. Last week, six Okeechobee residents were diagnosed with the variant.
Florida Department of Health reports that since the pandemic started in 2020, 87, 024 Florida residents have been hospitalized. According to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), as of April 12:
• No Glades County residents were hospitalized due to COVID-19.
• Three Hendry County residents were hospitalized due to COVID-19. Hendry County had three ICU beds open.
Since the pandemic started, 34,056 Florida resident deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.
Around the lake, the death toll has been:
• Glades County - 19;
• Hendry County - 77;
• Martin County - 310;
• Okeechobee County - 87;
• Palm Beach County - 2,700.
Health officials encourage Florida residents to continue to maintain 6 feet of social distance between themselves and those who are not members of their immediate household and to wear cloth face coverings in public spaces where it is not possible to maintain 6 feet of distance.