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Lake County's first-come, first-served vaccine approach falters due to lack of supply

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
Office of the Secretary of Defen
Army Spc. Angel Laureano holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Dec. 14, 2020. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

Lake County's attempt to provide the coronavirus vaccine to seniors on a first-come, first-served basis failed to fly last week due to a shortage of supply.

Now, the local health department is taking a day-by-day approach.

Administrator Aaron Kissler says his department has learned a lesson after offering the Moderna vaccine to seniors and health workers last week but then only having enough doses for those with appointments. 

"That's why we've got to be kind of on-the-spot and we unfortunately can't send messages out to far ahead because then people's expectations go up," Kissler said. "And then the problem is then when we can't deliver they're really disappointed."

Lake County's approach is still going to be first-come, first-served. People are urged to follow the local news or the health department Twitter account for times and locations. Kissler says health workers especially should check with local hospitals.

He is glad seniors are eager to receive the vaccine but urges them to be patient because of the lack of availability.

"Unfortunately it's like, you know, using a garden hose when you need a fire hose," he said.

Lake County expects a shipment of the Pfizer vaccine sometime this week.

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.