About 600 seniors receive first COVID-19 vaccines after waiting hours

Posted at 7:38 PM, Dec 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-28 19:38:56-05

ESTERO — Hundreds of seniors became the first members of the public in Southwest Florida to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Monday.

It was first come first serve at the Estero Rec Center. About 600 seniors received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. The vaccine has a second dose that you get four weeks later.

People we spoke with waited for hours to get their shots, but once they did, they were excited to know they were one step closer to immunity.

The Rec Center started letting people in just after noon.

“I can’t believe it. It’s a blessing, I just can’t believe it," said Dominic Diorio, who got vaccinated with his wife Janice.

The Diorios were two of the first to get vaccinated.

“Very easy. Didn’t even feel it go in, it was wonderful," said Janice Diorio.

“Just very normal, nothing out of the ordinary," said Dominic Diorio.

The Diorios got in line around 8 a.m. We spoke with another couple who arrived around 10:30 who said, they almost didn’t make it.

“We’re told we’re in the mid-500’s, and the line went to 6. They had 600 doses," said Jim Bender.

Bender and his wife Barb received red tickets that guaranteed them a shot. The county said it’s trying to treat as many people as it can.

“It is unfortunate that there really is a finite number of vaccines available, and it’s unfortunate that we didn’t have three weeks to plan this event," said Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais.

Desjarlais said the vaccine distribution was the only one in Southwest Florida Monday. He said, on such short notice, they weren’t able to restrict the shots just for people who live in the county.

"We did hear earlier today somebody from Orange County was going to drive all the way down here today to try and get vaccinated. That seems a little extreme," said Desjarlais.

But for Janice and Dominic, who do live in Southwest Florida, they’re just happy to know that one month from now, they can finally see their family.

“This is wonderful. We can finally feel a little more comfortable traveling again," said Janice Diorio.

The next vaccine distributions will take place at the following locations throughout the week on a first come, first serve basis:


East County Regional Library - 881 Gunnery Rd. N Lehigh Acres, FL 33971
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Old Bonita Spring Library - 26876 Pine Ave. Bonita Springs, FL 34135
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Fort Myers Stars Complex - 2980 Edison Ave. Fort Myers, FL 33916
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.


North Fort Myers Recreation Center - 2000 N Recreation Pkwy. North Fort Myers, FL 33903
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Lakes Regional Library - 15290 Bass Rd. Fort Myers, FL 33919
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Cultural Park Theater - 528 Cultural Park Blvd. Cape Coral, FL 33919
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Keep in mind that right now, these distributions are only for people 65 and older. The county has also set up a helpful COVID-19 hot line with more information. You just dial 2-1-1 on your phone.