Sumter County to offer signup for limited doses of COVID-19 vaccine

The Sumter County Health Department will begin offering signup for the extremely limited number of doses it has received for vaccination against the Coronavirus.

Demand for the vaccine has been intense, and the 2,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine received in Sumter County are not nearly enough to vaccinate its more than 130,000 residents.

An emphasis is being put on vaccinating medical personnel first, Sumter County Health Department Director Sanford Zelnick said in a memo released today. He is hoping for a future mass vaccination event, and in the memo acknowledged that medical personnel giving the vaccinations will have to have been innoculated first.

“It will be necessary to vaccinate medical personnel who will not only be participating in that event but also are caring for COVID-19 patients in their medical practices on a daily basis,” Zelnick said in the memo. 

He said his office will be working closely with The Villages Health to offer vaccinations to these medical practices.

“It is anticipated that a sizable vaccination force can be assembled by prioritizing vaccination this way, which will be augmented with additional support provided by Department of Health central office, in coordination with the Division of Emergency Management,” Zelnick said.   

He added that he has “advised” The Villages Health that it would be “medically reasonable” to offer vaccination to people who are in the “most vulnerable” medical circumstances “now.” 

In conjunction with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order to move seniors to the front of the line when it comes to vaccinations, the Sumter County Health Department will be offering “a small block of appointments” at the Bushnell office to provide vaccinations, which will be done strictly by appointment.

Gov. Ron DeSantis watches Villager Doug Tharp get a COVID-19 vaccine during a press conference at UF Health The Villages Hospital on Dec. 22. Tharp is a former Villages Homeowners Association president who currently serves on the Village Center Community Development District Board of Supervisors.

Sumter County residents can call (352) 569-3102 starting Jan. 4 to schedule an appointment. 

Before signing up, residents must review the pre-vaccination checklist link provided by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/downloads/pre-vaccination-screening-form.pdf.

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