The COVID-19 vaccine has begun making its way to the general public, starting with those age 65 and older in Volusia County. 

With so much uncertainty about the unprecedented rollout of vaccinations, The Beacon wants to answer your questions. 

Changes are coming every day, and this page will be updated with information from the Volusia County Department of Health as we receive it. 

How can I sign up to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

According to the Health Department,the Jan. 7-8 vaccination clinics in Deltona will likely serve as a model for future events. If this is the case, a link will be posted online several days in advance of the event, along with an opening time when the link can be used to register to get the vaccination.

The information will be posted on The Beacon’s website, and on our social-media platforms, as we receive it. Click here to visit The Beacon on Facebook and “Like” the page to stay up-to-date on our posts. The Beacon is also on Twitter, here

For the Deltona clinic, supply was limited to about 1,000 shots per day, and registration was full after three minutes. There were no glitches with the registration system, county officials said. 

Are the current vaccines effective against the newfound COVID-19 variants?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently studying whether COVID-19 variants can resist the Pfizer-BioNTech- and Moderna-produced novel coronavirus vaccines. As of Jan. 27, one case of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant originating in the U.K. was confirmed in Volusia County, according to a Volusia County Department of Health spokesperson. Pharmaceutical companies have said they do not believe this variant will render the vaccines ineffective, but Moderna is working on a booster shot in the event that one is necessary.

Why are people from outside of the county receiving vaccinations at Volusia County clinics?

Events operated by the county are open to all Florida residents, as mandated by the state Department of Health.

I’m not 65, but I care for someone who is older. May I get the vaccine?

Not officially, but The Beacon has had some reports of younger caregivers who accompany the older people they care for to clinics also being offered the vaccine. 

Why is vaccine supply so limited?

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is a work in progress. While the limited supply can be discouraging, missing one distribution event does not mean there will not be more opportunities. County officials have noted the supply will be limited at the outset, but more and more vaccinations will be available to the public as time goes on. 

In the coming weeks, the county has said there will be more vaccination events, and work is already underway across the state to bring COVID-19 vaccinations to pharmacies. 

How will I know if I am receiving the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine?

As of now, all events open to the public have administered the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine requires two shots, 28-29 days apart, to reach its full effectiveness. People must receive the same vaccine for the second shot as they do the first. 

How do I get my second shot?

Everyone who receives a first COVID-19 shot at a Volusia County event will receive an official CDC document with information about which vaccine they received, as well as the date when they will receive their next shot. 

Any person receiving a first shot automatically receives a follow-up date to receive the second vaccine shot 28-29 days after the first at the same location. Second shots will be administered in closed events open only to those who have had the first shot. 

A spokesperson for Volusia County told The Beacon anyone who received a first shot at a county event will receive an email in three weeks reminding them about their second shot, and information about when and where to receive it.

What if you don’t have access to the internet?

While the county is predominantly scheduling appointments for vaccination using an online registration system, anyone without regular access to the internet or seeking help can contact the Volusia County Citizen’s Information Center by phone at 866-345-0345, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, for more information.

Like the online platform, all calls, according to a county official, will be answered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Volusia County public libraries also offer computers with internet access for use by the public.

When will individuals in long-term care facilities begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

Individuals in area long-term care facilities have already begun receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. According to a spokesperson from Alliance Community Retirement Living, some residents have received the first shot. Pharmacies, not the Department of Health, are handling the distribution of these vaccinations.

Important links:

Volusia County Public Information network: https://www.volusia.org/services/public-protection/emergency-management/pin/

Florida Department of Health vaccination information:

https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/covid-19-vaccines-in-florida/

State vaccination report (updated daily):

http://ww11.doh.state.fl.us/comm/_partners/covid19_report_archive/vaccine/vaccine_report_latest.pdf