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Vaccine policy change now includes most vulnerable under 65

Posted at 3:38 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 16:14:00-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — In an update to an important story we broke last week, a new group of people is now getting guaranteed access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’re grateful to be a partner with the State of Florida and look forward to continuing our efforts to expand vaccinations as more supply becomes viable in the future. We also want to remind the community to register with the state and county at myvaccine.fl.gov," said a Lee Health spokesman.

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They're people who aren't 65 and older, a healthcare worker, or in a nursing home but are still extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

Under an executive order from the Governor, those people are allowed to get the shot, but as we showed you, many were being turned away.

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Today we have confirmed that Lee Health will now be offering vaccines to people who fall into that group.

The health system told FOX 4 that it has received 1, 000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and will be using 900 of them to vaccinate those who are "vulnerable."

The rest will be saved for "second dose" vaccines.

MORE: Southwest Florida COVID-19 vaccination sites and information

"Using our electronic health record system, we were able to identify patients who meet this criterion and prioritize them by risk level. We are directly contacting the patients at the highest risk and scheduling them to be vaccinated this week," said a Lee Health spokesman.

They say they will be offering vaccines to existing Lee Health patients and will be prioritizing the sickest among them.

They ask that you do not call them to try and get a vaccine as it will tie up the phone lines. If you qualify for this round of vaccines they will call you.

"To keep distribution fair and unbiased we are contacting patients based on risk level, and we will not be able to make any appointments for those who call in to check their eligibility," said a Lee Health spokesman.

If you are not an existing Lee Health patient or are unable to get one of these vaccines, they encourage you to use the state's new vaccine pre-registration portal to sign up for one elsewhere.

Lee Health says it will be using this list of underlying conditions to determine someone's vulnerability to COVID-19 and eligibility for a vaccine under the updated policy.

FOX 4 has also reached out to other area hospitals and health systems to see if they will be offering similar vaccine protocols soon.