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LAKELAND — A Lakeland health care provider has launched a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list for its patients, but needs more supplies to move forward.
Watson Clinic announced its own online vaccine registration portal via Facebook and social media on Wednesday. It is inviting the clinic’s senior patients, age 65 and older, to receive a shot when supplies become available.
“It’s a preregistration form, so we are fully prepared when the time comes,” said Jenny Baker, spokeswoman for Watson Clinic.
Seniors can go online to www.watsonclinic.com/forms/covid-19-pre-registration-process.html to register. Individuals are asked to provide their mailing address, email address, phone number and date of birth.
Watson Clinic does not have any available vaccines and does not know when it will receive a shipment, Baker said. The clinic expects to find out Monday whether it will receive an allocation from the state.
Those who register with Watson Clinic will be able to get updates through its website, social media pages and by calling its COVID-19 hotline at 863-680-7358.
Polk County’s vaccine registration
Seniors, age 65 or older, who can show proof of Florida residency can sign up to be put on Polk’s COVID-19 vaccine waiting list in two ways
Go online to register.polk.health. This website requires a different email address for each person who registers.
Call the COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 863-298-7500. It is open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Other community providers are facing a similar bind, willing to help inoculate Polk County’s seniors but without supplies to do so. Central Florida Health Care, a nonprofit provider, has posted a message on its website, www.cfhconline.org, that it has run through its initial supply and will post on its website and social media channels when more is received.
Lakeland officials are willing to make city-owned facilities available to health care providers to host mass vaccination events – if supplies can be found. City Manager Shawn Sherrouse said possible locations could include Lake Crago Outdoor Recreation Complex, Lake Mirror Complex, Joker Marchant Stadium and the RP Funding Center.
“We are waiting on standby,” he said.
As of Thursday, 30,927 Polk residents had received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Florida Department of Health’s daily reports. That’s an increase of 1,211 people.
Of the total, 3,759 people had completed the two-shot series. Both the Pfizer and Modern vaccines approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration require two doses, given between 21 and 28 days apart, to reach about 95% efficacy against the virus.
More than 21,000 seniors had received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday. That’s about 14% of the county’s roughly 150,000 senior population, an estimate given by Dr. Joy Jackson, director of the Florida Health Department in Polk County. By comparison, about 4% of Polk’s estimated population of 724,700 has been vaccinated.
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In Polk, there were 374 new cases and seven new death reported Thursday, according to state health department data. This brings the county’s total to 49,348 infected and 960 deaths since the pandemic began in mid-March.
Polk hospitals reported 21 admissions on Thursday, bringing the cumulative total since the start of the pandemic to 3,768. There were 243 hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Polk as of 2:30 Thursday, according to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration’s online dashboard. That’s a decrease of 17 people since Wednesday, a second straight day of double-digit declines. More than 14% of the county’s intensive care unit beds were free for patients.
Polk’s daily positive rate dramatically dropped from 15.6% to about 8% on Thursday, according to state reports. This could have been affected by the county reporting more than 4,000 test results, more than double its daily average. Polk’s seven-day rolling positivity rate was above 11.5% on Thursday, down from 15% reported in the middle of the month but above the 10% threshold for community spread.
Sara-Megan Walsh can be reached at swals[email protected] or 863-802-7545. Follow on Twitter @SaraWalshFl.