Orange County

FEMA vaccination site in Orlando sees slow rollout

ORLANDO, Fla. — FEMA’s new COVID-19 vaccination sites are officially open in Central Florida.

The vaccination site at Valencia College West Campus in Orlando opened at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. Traffic in and out of the federal site was slower than expected. Lightning also delayed the start of things.

Officials said they administered almost 1,900 vaccinations, but have the ability to do more.

Lt. Colonel Troy Fisher with the U.S. Army said he was hoping for at least 2,000 to 3,000 people a day.

READ: Here’s the form medically vulnerable Floridians need to fill out to get a vaccine

He said if things don’t pick up in the next few days, they will have to reassess.

“If we find that there is a better way to provide the service, (then) we’ll have those negotiations about how to make it better, make it more accessible to the population,” Fisher said.

Barry Bridges, 59, is paralyzed from the waist down. He said he’d been to at least seven different spots to get the vaccine, but was turned down at each for not having an appointment.

“I’ve been trying to get online and I can’t,” he said. “I don’t know how to do it online.”

READ: Publix COVID-19 vaccination appointments fully booked: Here’s when more will open up

For this site, however, no appointment is needed.

“You can walk up and I don’t think a lot of people realize this,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. “So if you don’t have an appointment and you’re not preregistered, you can still come over here.”

The site is open on a first-come, first-serve basis. Law enforcement and teachers over 50 are eligible, as well as those under 65 and considered vulnerable to COVID-19, like Bridges.

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

Officials said even if they don’t get to 250 vaccines an hour, they won’t waste any vaccine.

National Guard officials said if they have leftover vaccine, they will not receive as much the following day and will continue to use the leftovers.

Adam Poulisse,

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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