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Florida A&M COVID-19 vaccination site sees record numbers on first day all adults eligible

FAMU vaccination site sees wave of people looking for COVID-19 protection
Posted at 5:52 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 17:53:01-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Al Lawson Center vaccinated 278 people on Monday.

One hour after doors opened, close to 100 people filled the Al Lawson Center waiting for a COVID vaccine. Pamela Monroe was a part of that early morning crowd. She says the process was super easy, taking no more than 5 minutes to get the vaccine in her arm.

"I am kind of on the front lines, working with students and seeing faculty and staff every day. I wanted to keep my family safe as well as make sure that others are safe as well," she said.

All adults in Florida can now get the vaccine. Floridians as young as 16 can get the Pfizer shot.

As more people line up to get vaccinated, there's a new question; just how long will the shot keep them protected. The CDC says 6 months of protection are guaranteed. Dr. Daniel Van Durme with Florida State University's College of Medicine says as scientists collect more data, that number could grow.

" Initially the CDC said three months. As we had more people vaccinated for a longer period of time, it is now been revised to six months. By the middle of the summer we might have enough data to say that it lasts for nine months or longer," said Dr. Van Durme.

Dr. Van Durme says regardless of any hang-ups and outstanding questions, the best thing to do is get the vaccine.

"So anybody who's thinking 'Well I'm going to hold off on getting my vaccine until version one, two, three or four that provides more protection' is playing with fire. Get the vaccine as soon as you can to protect you from what we know is out there," he said.

The warning is especially important as more variant cases pop up. Leon County now has at least 12. Dr. Van Durme says while those variants are stronger, you'll still be protected if you get the shot.

"The standard COVID virus that's been around, our vaccines provide you with about six times as much protection as you need. Against the variant, it only provides four times as much protection as you need it, so it is less protection but it's still a whole lot of protection," he said.

Dr. Van Durme says it is likely to still catch COVID if you have the variant.

"This concept of kind of partial immunity means that you may not get as severe a case. You may have a much milder case of it, but not one so severe that it puts you in the hospital or puts you at risk of death," he said.

The Al Lawson vaccination site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Lawson Center has 400 doses available a day. Once they hit capacity, there's no waiting list. People are encouraged to return the next day.