AdventHealth opens community COVID-19 vaccine pilot program site near OIA

ORLANDO, Fla. — AdventHealth opened its first COVID-19 vaccination site near Orlando International Airport Tuesday.

After a short trial run Monday, AdventHealth began vaccinating seniors and healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients.

Dr. Scott Brady, CEO of AventHealth Centra Care, said the idea is to vaccinate as many people as possible.

READ: Here’s where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in your county

“Getting as many people vaccinated as we can is the way out of the pandemic,” he said.

The AdventHealth clinic is an alternative to the state health department sites set up in different counties.

“It just seemed like, OK, this the beginning of the end for this thing, so this is a big day in terms of relief for those who are able to get the vaccine,” Brady said.

READ: Lake County COVID-19 vaccine appointments fill up in 15 minutes

Officials hope to distribute 7,000 vaccines over four days.

The injections are available by appointment only to people ages 65 or older, and healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients.

For people like Phyllis Shaffer, getting the vaccine is a relief.

READ: Florida reports almost 14,900 new COVID-19 cases, 161 deaths since yesterday

“We’re very relieved because we tried and tried to get an appointment and as soon as we signed on to get an appointment, they were all sold out,” Shaffer said.

By the end of this week, AdventHealth said they will have vaccinated roughly 37,000 people in Central Florida.

Officials said that when the vaccine becomes more widely available, they will look at opening the program to anyone.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.