FORT MYERS, Fla. – The 5,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine available this week were spoken for within minutes of the opening of reservations on Monday by the Florida Department of Health and Lee County.
Initial analytics show that within the first 30 minutes of the phone line going live, there was an average of 50,000 calls per minute, with a peak call volume of 84,000 calls per minute.
Additional doses will be available soon, and the reservation call line will reopen at that time. Callers who are on hold or were given the option to receive a call-back – and who left their number – are continuing to be processed.
Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman said he understands that people are frustrated that they could not secure an appointment, but with a population of more than 200,000 people age 65 and older in Lee County it is not a surprise that demand exceeded supply.
“Here is the good news: More vaccine doses will be coming to Lee County,” Hamman said.
Dan Craig, CEO of Tidal Basin, the vendor providing the call center, said more than 100 employees were on hand to take reservations as the reservation system went live at noon Monday. Representatives continue to work with callers through today even though the center is not accepting additional calls.
Anyone who requested a call back to finalize the reservations should be certain to answer the call or they will lose their place in the queue, Craig said.
Vaccinations scheduled Monday will begin Tuesday at a single site east of Interstate 75 off Daniels Parkway. It’s the site of the old airport terminal parking lot. Message boards will direct traffic to Paul J. Doherty Parkway.
When those registered arrive on site, officials will request three things: name, identification and time of appointment before allowing them to queue up. (Only those with appointments will be vaccinated.) People are asked to arrive no more than 45 minutes before their assigned vaccination time. Even though this is an appointment system, processing times may vary. Be prepared for some wait time.
FDOH anticipates administering 1,000 shots Tuesday, and 2,000 shots per day on Wednesday and Thursday. Reservations will resume once more vaccinations arrive.
Complete information can be found at Lee County’s website.
Those with reservations can expedite the process by coming prepared visit the county’s website to read the Moderna vaccination information and to print and complete the consent form.
Social distancing and masks are encouraged; take into account weather conditions. Portable toilets, hand washing stations, drinking water and some chairs will be available. For safety and security, county government and Lee County Sheriff’s Office staff will be on site.
The following will not be permitted: Recreational Vehicles, campers or trailers. Only service animals will be permitted in the vaccination area. This is not a drive-thru site. The site is ADA compliant.
More than 6,140 shots have been administered to medical workers and people 65 and older at various sites. (Vaccination sites officially opened Monday, Dec. 28, in Lee County.) This total does not include medical workers vaccinated at separate sites by the Florida Department of Health-Lee.
The United Way 211 line for vaccine questions is staffed 24/7. Dial 211 or 239-433-3900.