A sigh of relief could be heard across Marco Island last Friday when the lines were formed for residents to assemble to receive 200 COVID-19 vaccine shots. This would be the first such event which has been jointly sponsored by Collier County Department of Health, Collier County EMS, along with the City of Marco Island.
The event itself was announced at the January 19 City Council Meeting by City Manager Michael McNees at the end of that meeting. In that presentation, McNees would speak to the angst felt by residents throughout the area regarding difficulties obtaining appointments for that much sought-after vaccine shot—the first of a series of two. McNees announced that appointments would be made through the Eventbrite website at 2 PM on Wednesday, January 20. McNees advised citizens to check on both the city’s website and the city’s social media page to obtain those instructions.
McNees would go onto explain that they had no illusions as to the numbers that they would have to inoculate residents with. “We do not expect to have more than 200 initially at this first event,” said McNees.
According to McNees, the county has agreed to continue the process, predicated upon a system being created here that is efficient and well run. They have made no commitment as to a schedule for the receipt of additional vaccines and how many. Those details are being worked out with all the parties involved.
McNees would seek to quell social media rumors that the system for obtaining appointments were somehow tainted. He sought to dispel those rumors via a posting made on the city’s website. The frustrations residents on the island are feeling are felt across the State of Florida and are directly related to the high demand and limited supply of the vaccine.
He would go on to remind residents in that memo of the following. “I am reminding myself that two short months ago there was no vaccine at all, that more is coming, and we will have more opportunities here on the island. City staff will continue to work hard to expand those opportunities and do our very best to work to expand those opportunities,” said McNees.
Lt. Richard Magee was one of those professionals from Collier County EMS who was onsite and administering the vaccine to those with an appointment. “It really appears to be running really smoothly,” said Magee.
Resident Tom Rowe and his wife was one of the fortunate 200 to receive their shots. “We’ve been attempting to access the various sites the last couple of weeks. She was continuing to scan the various sites and came across the announcement from the city. At 2 PM on Wednesday, we signed on and were able get our appointment. This is great and we are so thankful for the city doing this,” said Rowe.
Fire Chief Chris Byrne was all smiles on that Friday. “This is just great for the community and we appreciate the opportunity to be of service to them,” said Byrne.
Police Chief Tracy Frazzano echoed Byrne’s statements as she said, “It’s a great example of what can be accomplished when we all work together.”
As more vaccines are available and a schedule is created, residents should be signing onto the city’s website at www.cityofmarcoisland.com or to the Coastal Breeze News at www.coatalbreezenews.com for future announcements.