COLLIER COUNTY — As thousands of people file into vaccine sites across Southwest Florida, one major question still remains unanswered: How are they getting their second dose?
Hundreds of cars filed through a vaccination distribution site Monday in North Collier Regional Park, but each and every one of those people left without knowing how they will be getting their second dose.
We spoke with one woman who is getting concerned, after everything she went through to get the first shot, she might not get her second one in the prescribed timeline. Cheryl Szynkowski came down to a vaccine site in Collier County on January 3rd, traveling more than 70 miles from the City of North Port.
"I didn’t care where we went. We just wanted to make sure that we got the vaccine," said Szynkowski.
Synkowski said, when she and her husband got their shots, they were told to call the Department of Health to set up their next appointment.
"We called up to 50 times a day. There was never an answer. There wasn’t any way to leave a voice message," said Szynkowski.
We spoke with another woman who went to the Estero site in Lee County. She showed us a card she received that didn’t have much information on it.
"Do we sign up for it? Do we come back to the same place? Are we supposed to come back to the same place? Do we go to another place? Nobody knows anything," said Carol, who only wanted to be identified by her first name.
After reaching out to the Department of Health in both counties, it turns out each county is handling it differently.
In Collier County, the DOH said it will email everyone who got a shot to set up their second appointment. It also assured us there will be enough second doses for everyone to get a shot on time.
In Lee County, the Department said it will be calling everyone to set up the second appointment. When we asked if there would be enough, the Department only said “We have been assured second doses are being held back at the federal level.”
If there aren’t enough second doses, some people might have to wait longer than the prescribed timeline of 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine, and 28 days for Moderna. The Food and Drug Administration said “Without appropriate data supporting such changes in vaccine administration, we run a significant risk of placing public health at risk.”
Szynkowski said she hopes her second shot gets scheduled on-time, and the process can become smoother moving forward.
"Maybe they can come up with an easier way for people to sign up and immediately schedule them for that 2nd dose, so that you don’t have to sit and worry," said Szynkowski.
At this point, the DOH only has until the end of the week to start getting those second vaccine appointments scheduled. Lee County DOH said the very first people who got the vaccine become eligible for the second dose next Monday.