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Florida, Georgia COVID-19 vaccine sites expand eligibility

More people eager to get the shot
Posted at 9:11 AM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 09:11:25-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — As the doors open for more in Florida and Georgia to get the COVID-19 vaccine, that means more people also getting turned away. Varying sites are making sure only those who qualify get the shot.

For Frank and Margaret Zubrick, getting the COVID-19 vaccine at the Florida State University site was simple.

"The registration was straightforward. It gave us a time and we came down," said Frank Zubrick.

The site at FSU requires ID to prove you qualify. In Florida, you can now get the vaccine if you're 60 or older, a K-12 teacher, or a firefighter or law enforcement officer 50 or older. You also qualify if you have a note from a doctor saying you have an illness that makes you medically vulnerable.

While many online registrations only ask you to prove those qualifications online, at the Al Lawson Center, those questions are asked face to face.

"We do our registration on site and we ask everybody to provide us with their ID, said site director Tanya Tatum.

For the first day of extended qualifications, the site on Florida A & M's campus saw its busiest day yet with 177 people stopping by.

At Publix, a spokesperson told ABC 27 says while the online site asks you to check the box detailing how you qualify, their team will also want to see proof at your appointment.

It's a similar process across state lines in Georgia.

"Anyone who calls is questioned. We want to know what the category of eligibility is," said Southwest Georgia Director of Public Health Dr. Charles Ruis.

Anyone 55 and older can get vaccinated in Georgia, along with school employees, people with disabilities, and people 16 and older with medical conditions that put them at a higher risk of a severe case of COVID-19.

"We are asking people to be honest with us. We don't have time to verify everyone's diagnosis, said Dr. Ruis.

Dr. Ruis is now urging ineligible people to save the existing doses for those who need it.

"People who don't meet the current guidelines are generally very healthy. Your neighbor gets the vaccine, but you still benefit because the virus spreads through the most susceptible people," he said.

You can call to schedule an appointment with any of the health departments 6 days a week.

The Al Lawson Center walk-up site is open seven days a week from 9 to 1.