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Are you a school or child care worker in Manatee? Here's some COVID vaccine options
Bradenton Herald - 3/6/2021
Mar. 6—MANATEE — The list of people eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine has expanded under recent state and federal guidance. However, the method of finding a vaccine depends on the person, especially when it comes to educators.
Expanding beyond residents 65 and older, Gov. Ron DeSantis included several groups in a new executive order, including K-12 school employees, sworn law enforcement officers and firefighters. The order had one caveat: they had to be at least 50 years old.
"We've made arrangements with our local law enforcement to be vaccinated this week," Manatee County's public safety director, Jacob Saur, said on Friday morning.
"They started on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday," he continued. "I would suspect they're probably done after today. All the firefighters in our community are already done."
As of Friday morning, Manatee's standby pool continued to focus on Florida residents 65 and older for vaccinations at Tom Bennett Park and the Public Safety Center. You can sign up by calling 311 or visiting vax.mymanatee.org.
So what about the 2,500 employees who fall under the 50-and-up category in Manatee County schools?
In an announcement on Thursday afternoon, the district said approximately 1,000 vaccines would be available from March 8 to 12, thanks to a partnership with MCR Health. Employees age 50 and up could make an appointment and get vaccinated at either Southeast High or Manatee Elementary.
District leaders were also working with the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County to immunize the remainder of its interested employees. The goal, according to Thursday's announcement, was to hold additional vaccinations over spring break, which begins on March 15.
And while Florida's criteria was limited to educators 50 and older, President Joe Biden is hoping to vaccinate all interested teachers, school employees and child care staff by the end of this month.
Anyone in those categories — regardless of age — can visit a federal vaccine site or a pharmacy taking part in the federal vaccine program.
To check for vaccine availability by zip code, visit VaccineFinder.org.
Winn-Dixie recently added four new locations to the list of participating pharmacies in Manatee County.
According to a news release from Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie grocery stores, there are now five local stores that accept vaccine appointments:
— 1010 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton.
— 7400 44th Ave. W., Bradenton.
— 5805 Manatee Ave., Bradenton.
— 515 Seventh St., Palmetto.
— 5802 14th St. W., Bradenton.
"This expansion now includes appointments for newly eligible groups such as day care workers, preschool teachers and educators in elementary, middle and high schools to be vaccinated with no age limit, in accordance with new Federal Retail Pharmacy Program guidelines," the release states.
To find the most updated information or to make an appointment, visit www.winndixie.com/pharmacy/covid-vaccine.
"The vaccines are free, with or without health insurance and appointments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis," the release continues. "Those with health insurance must provide their health insurance card during their scheduled appointment, and those without insurance will need to present a valid driver's license or social security card."
The CVS website listed one pharmacy in Bradenton with COVID-19 vaccines. While the store was fully booked as of Friday afternoon, the company urged residents to check for new appointments each day.
For more information or to make an appointment, visit cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine.
"We are following the directive of the CDC for the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program to vaccinate pre-K through 12 educators, staff and childcare workers in all 17 states where we currently are a Federal pharmacy partner," a spokeswoman said in an email to the Bradenton Herald.
Walgreens is prioritizing school staff and child care workers throughout March, in alignment with CDC guidelines, according to a corporate spokesperson.
That means school employees who work in Pre-K through 12th grade, the staff of child care centers or family child care providers, and those who work for the Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
To make an appointment, visit Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine or call 1-800-Walgreens (help is available in both English and Spanish).
Publix announced the expansion of its vaccination program on Thursday.
"All Florida K-12 and child care teachers and personnel will be eligible to make an appointment at a Publix Pharmacy," the company said in a news release.
The announcement also listed:
— Adults under the age of 65 who are determined to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 by a physician (a completed state of Florida form is required).
Health care professionals with direct patient contact and residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.
Individuals ages 50 and older who are firefighters or sworn law enforcement officers.
Individuals ages 65 and older.
"The online reservation system typically opens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning for vaccine appointments at Florida Publix pharmacies, as long as the company continues to receive vaccine doses from the state and federal governments and barring unforeseen circumstances," the release states.
To make an appointment, visit publix.com/covidvaccine.
Walmart offered COVID-19 vaccines at two pharmacies in Bradenton and one in Sarasota as of Friday afternoon.
Eligible groups included educators who were 18 or older, EMS workers and people between the ages of 16 to 64 who had at least one high-risk medical condition (as determined by a physician), among others.
To schedule an appointment or learn more, visit walmart.com/pharmacy and click on the link for vaccines.
"As patient eligibility requirements for COVID-19 vaccines expand, we will update our internal processes and online scheduling system to reflect those changes as quickly as possible," Rebecca Thomason, the senior manager for corporate communications, said in an email.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened a vaccination site in Tampa on Wednesday.
While appointments are not required, they are encouraged. Visit myvaccine.fl.gov to sign up.
Located at the Tampa Greyhound Track, 755 E. Waters Ave., the walk-up site operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m, Sunday through Saturday.
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