The two new COVID-19 vaccination sites run by the city of Jacksonville will operate on a first-come, first-serve basis starting Monday.
The new vaccination sites at the Mandarin Senior Center and the Lane Wiley Senior Center, which were COVID-19 testing sites until Thursday, will operate from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, beginning on Jan. 11. These sites are operating separately from the Prime Osborn Convention Center vaccination site, which is being run by the Florida Department of Health.
To avoid large crowds, residents will only be eligible for a vaccine at the city-run sites one day out of the week as determined by the month they were born.
“We're doing this given the problems that the health department and others have had because of overloaded phone lines and online scheduling,” Mayor Lenny Curry said during a news conference Friday afternoon. “There's a possibility we may have to adapt and change, but this is the method we're going to use now to make sure that people can get in a smooth and efficient way.”
Mondays are reserved for January and February birthdays, Tuesdays for March and April, Wednesdays for May and June, Thursdays for July and August, Fridays for September and October and Saturdays for November and December.
The Mandarin site will administer up to 500 vaccines every day while the Lane Wiley site will provide up to 475.
“The staff at these sites will identify when they are close to reaching that number and will ask those who did not make the daily cut to please return on their designated day the following week or to try to get an appointment with the Florida Department of Health's Prime Osborn Convention Center vaccination location,” Mayor Curry said.
The Pfizer vaccine will be distributed at both sites.
New research suggests the Pfizer vaccine can protect against a mutation found in the two more contagious versions of the virus that have begun to spread, according to the Associated Press. So far, 22 instances of one of those more contagious variants has been documented in Florida — nearly half of all known cases in the U.S., CDC data shows.
Vaccines at the two new city-run sites will only be available to Duval County residents 65 and older, frontline medical workers and first responders. To get a vaccine, everyone must bring a vaccination screening and consent form and a photo ID that shows date of birth and proves Duval County residency. First responders and healthcare providers also need to bring a work ID badge.
Masks must be worn at all times and social distancing will be required at the vaccination sites. Overnight parking or waiting in line overnight will not be allowed.
Additionally, only those getting the vaccine should go to the vaccination sites. “Family members not eligible to receive the vaccine should stay home unless they are a caretaker and the person receiving the vaccine requires assistance,” said Dr. Charles Moreland, Mayor Curry’s Director of Community and International Affairs.
There will be a mandatory 15 minute observation period for everyone who gets a vaccine at these sites so medical professionals can keep an eye out for any potential reactions. Some people may have to wait an additional 15 to 30 minutes based on their medical history.
“While allergic reactions to the COVID 19 vaccination are very rare, we are doing this out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of our citizens. The waiting area will be sanitized and you will be socially distanced while you wait,” said Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Medical Director Dr. Bradley Elias. “In the event of a medical emergency, each vaccination location will have an advanced practitioner, multiple first responders and a dedicated rescue unit on site.”
Curry said supply for COVID-19 testing outweighs demand at the moment, so he’s not worried about losing two of the city’s testing sites. But, he said if that changes the city will adapt and make sure they increase access to testing as needed.
“I understand that people have been frustrated with access to the vaccine. I want to remind folks, we don't control the supply chain, the state of Florida doesn't control the supply chain. It's a large federally coordinated effort: all of the states and all of the cities, we’re one of many but we're working hard to secure what we can,” Mayor Curry said. “Until most of us can get this vaccine, personal responsibility remains our greatest tool in combating the spread of this virus. So please continue to do your part.”