Hendry, Glades counties send teams to vaccinate rural areas

There are communities where people can’t simply get online and make an online appointment to get vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s why Hendry and Glades counties are going to try getting hundreds of people vaccinated with walk-in clinics this weekend.

The Florida Department of Health in Hendry County in Clewiston will take walk-ins and appointments for Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Location: 1100 S. Olympia, Clewiston, FL 33440

FDOH-Glades in Moore Haven will accept walk-ins and those with an appointment for Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations on Sunday from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Location: Glades County Training Center 1030 Industrial Drive, Moore Haven, FL 33471

FDOH-Hendry says it can’t do it alone, it needs partnerships: emergency management, the United Way and churches all serve different purposes. They need the security, the man power, the nursing staff and the space, all things that are harder to get in smaller areas.

“We have some smaller communities that [say] transportation is a real issue,” said FDOH-Charlotte administrator Dr. Joseph Pepe. “If you look at it from the perspective of the overall landmass of just Henry County and Glades County, you could spend probably a 45 minute drive going from one side of the county to the next. Now, if you don’t have a car or you can’t afford fuel, then that could be could be a barrier to getting vaccinated.”

So they have to get creative, deploying “strike teams” to smaller towns and making their sites operational on the weekend, when people aren’t working.

“But we’ve also been able to get more allocation to the private pharmacies as well as to the hospitals,” Pepe said. “So now we have multiple locations to dispense. So the transportation issues [are] becoming less and less, and then we’re having conversations now on how we can mobilize more, more teams, smaller teams to be able to go into these different communities on a regular basis.”

There is no CVS or Publix in Glades and no Publix in Hendry, so Pepe says it’s truly a grassroots effort there. He says around half of the 65-and-over population in those two counties has been vaccinated. In addition, the positivity rate for COVID-19 was extremely high during the pandemic, so natural immunity among survivors coupled with the vaccine is allowing them to see cases in the single digits today.

To schedule an appointment once vaccines are available, call one of these numbers based on your location:

  • LaBelle (863) 674-4041, press 00
  • Clewiston (863) 983-1408, press 00
  • Moore Haven (863) 946-0707, press 00

NOTE: FDOH is unable to vaccinate the vulnerable individuals under the age of 65 with prescriptions/certified letters due to the specific requirements within the extended Executive Order which stipulates physicians, APRN and pharmacists as vaccinators. It is seeking to partner with community providers to fill this specialized need. Please contact your physician, healthcare provider, pharmacy or hospital for additional vaccine assistance.

Visit our vaccine resources page for more information.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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