Lee Health is ready, waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine

Lee County

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is shipped via the United States, but when will you be able to get it in Lee County?

Lee Health says it will be ready to roll out the vaccine as soon as it receives the doses, and their current expectation is within the next two weeks.

Pfizer vaccine requires special very cold freezers, which have already been prepared. Dr Larry Antonucci, Lee Health’s president and CEO, says he is currently waiting to hear from the state about vaccine protocols.

“Especially during this holiday season, the virus is still there, and it will take some time before we can vaccinate everyone,” Antonucci said. “So, please, keep social distancing, wear a mask and wash hands, especially if you are going to be attending family gatherings during the holidays.”

The vaccine appears to be heading to bigger cities first, and then we can see it soon after. Antonucci says the start-up was an extensive planning process.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is making recommendations on who should get the vaccine intermittently,” Antonucci said. “Obviously, we want to give the vaccine to the most vulnerable and most dangerous, because it will not be available globally to the entire population. So we will follow those guidelines and administer the vaccine according to the guidelines that will be decided by the CDC and, ultimately, the state Department of Health and Surgeon General.”

He says he understands how much time people wait for him, but the key word now is “patience.” Lee Health also says it is working with other hospitals across the state to make this process smoother.

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Antonucci expects to make Moderna available soon after Pfizer. Their vaccine does not require deep freezing, so it will be easy to store. Our local hospitals do not know exactly when you will be able to give the vaccine, so if you see something online that promises to tell you when you will be eligible, it is probably illegal. WINK News will keep you updated on vaccine eligibility.

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