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Florida A&M Vaccination Clinic prepares for vaccine eligibility expansion

FAMU Vaccination Clinic prepares to expand
Posted at 5:58 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 17:58:37-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The vaccination clinic on Florida A&M University's campus continues to see low turnout. However, starting Wednesday, any school worker, firefighter, or law enforcement officer 50 and older will have access to the shot.

Chiles High School librarian Melissa Ingram says it's news she's spent almost a year waiting to hear.

"It's been frustrating because for us and the students there's a constant feeling of not being safe," she said.

Ingram says it has been particularly tough for her because she has co-workers who suffered from severe cases of COVID-19 while dealing with hundreds of quarantined students.

"I know teachers who've gotten vaccinated are in tears because they feel relief, at least they're not going to be hospitalized or risking their life by going to work," said Ingram.

Governor Ron DeSantis's most recent executive order allows school workers, firefighters, and law enforcement officers 50 and older to get the vaccine starting Wednesday; but Ingram decided to press her luck a day ahead at the Al Lawson Center vaccination site.

"I figured if they had an overflow I could get in but I guess I'll try tomorrow," she said.

She's not the only one showing up for end-of-the-day extra vaccines. Florida A&M University says they see about 30 people a day coming out looking for unused doses. While FAMU's site can handle 200 doses per day, the clinic has done significantly less, usually about 30. However, FAMU Student Health Services Director Tanya Tatum says the clinic hasn't wasted one single vaccine.

"We don't throw away any doses of the vaccine. The vaccine comes in 10 dose vials. We open up the vial as we need them for the individual that comes in," said Tatum.

The vial is usable six hours after it's opened. The vaccination site is only open for four hours a day. FAMU initially started a list for people who didn't qualify but were interested in an effort to not waste doses.

"It was individuals who had come and requested, please let me know'. But it got to be 50 people and at most, we're going to have six or eight doses or less because we're only opening up a 10 dose vial," she said.

That list has since closed to any new people due to demand. The clinic only has about six doses to give at the end of the day, meaning it would take weeks if not months if more names continued to go on the list.

The vaccination clinic runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You do have to bring identification to prove your age and occupation.