STUART, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Martin County on Monday began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to people 65 and older.
A long line of cars could be seen early Monday morning outside the health department's main office in Stuart as seniors waited to receive the vaccine produced by Moderna.
Martin County health officials began making appointments last Tuesday for people 65 and older and quickly experienced an overwhelming volume of calls.
Officials said all appointments are currently booked this week, and more appointments will reopen once there is more supply of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
The Florida Department of Health in Martin County said this in a tweet:
"@GoHealthyMartin and community healthcare partners are working quickly to distribute the #COVID19 vaccine in the community. Access to the vaccine will improve as the supply increases. Thank you for your patience."
@GoHealthyMartin and community healthcare partners are working quickly to distribute the #COVID19 vaccine in the community. Access to the vaccine will improve as the supply increases. Thank you for your patience. pic.twitter.com/Ugmzyz9xZf— FL Health Martin (@GoHealthyMartin) January 3, 2021
Officials said 800 people are expected to be vaccinated at the health department this week.
WPTV spoke to several people who received the vaccine on Monday, with many telling our news team it's been a smooth process.
Tom and Judy Quinn landed an appointment and tell WPTV they now have an overwhelming sense of relief.
"When you figure you don't have many years left in your life, you don't want to spend them home sitting doing nothing," Judy Quinn said. "It means we're gonna be free. It's a present, a Christmas present."
Right now, doses of the vaccine are by appointment only for seniors 65 and older and health care providers.
"We have plans to do about 200 doses today, and through the week the plan is to do about 800 doses," said Renay Rouse, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Health in Martin County.
The health department received about 34,000 calls in just four days last week for an appointment.
Everyone who received the vaccine on Monday will get their second dose in 28 days.
"I can't believe we were so lucky that we got it so early, it was pure luck and they've done a wonderful job," Judy Quinn said.
The Florida Department of Health in Martin County said it has not been been notified of any additional cases of the more contagious United Kingdom COVID-19 variant. The health department announced last week that a 23-year-old Martin County man was infected with the strain, but he’s doing well.