STUART, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health is opening a new vaccine supply line that will deliver vaccines directly to approved providers to distribute to their patients.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus
The announcement was made Tuesday by the Immunization Division for the Florida DOH.
This means private providers no longer need to rely on local health departments to dole out a portion of their weekly allotments to them. Instead, vaccines will come straight to approved providers from the state.
Providers can book between Tuesday and this Wednesday at noon for their first requests, according to health officials.
Doctors House Calls is a mobile physician's office based in Martin County that travels to its patients at their homes.
Office Manager Rebecca Daniels said they have been trying since January to get vaccines to administer to their patients who can't leave their homes.
Daniels registered the company and became an approved provider through the state's vaccine database, Florida SHOTS.
"That's where we had to initiate, and I was promised the world, and it was all broken," Daniels said.
She was never told why Doctors House Calls was not given vaccines.
"I have approximately 800 patients in over six counties that are homebound, and they need their shots," Daniels said.
Within the last month, she said the state told her to contact her local health department. Daniels said she is still waiting and hoping for some of the local vaccines.
She first requested 800 shots.
"Then, when I spoke to the health department. I said, 'Give me 100 [doses]. Let's start somewhere,'" Daniels said.
Doctors House Calls Nurse Practitioner Alexandra Gamble said her homebound patients regularly ask for the vaccine.
"Not for them to leave their home, but just for people to be safe coming in their home to help them. It's been frustrating every time we go to a visit to see them pleading to you, 'When are you getting these?'" Gamble said.
Doctors House Calls patients Phillip Evola and his wife have not left home since the start of the pandemic.
"Without the vaccine, my world is these four walls, and two houses to the east, and two to the west when I struggle to walk the dog," Evola said.
Evola, who loves music, said his friends have not been able to come over to play music, which is something he misses most.
"I'm on my thirteenth surgery, and I haven't bounced back as quickly," Evola said.
His friends don't want to put him and his wife at risk, however, a vaccine would change everything.
"The vaccine will start easing that. I'll feel more comfortable," Evola said.
The Martin County Health Department said it is still working to get vaccines for Doctors House Calls before they would get their allotment direct from the state.