ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Efforts to get people vaccinated against COVID-19 are well underway in Florida, but the rollout hasn't been smooth nor as fast as people would like.
Florida isn't alone. Nationwide, a little more than 13 million doses have been distributed but only 4.2 million people have received a shot in the arm, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Sunday morning.
Judging by the questions you're texting us at 10 Tampa Bay, the process has been confusing, too. We want to help make sense of what's going on and connect you with resources.
But know this: As of right now, any regular person of the general public cannot yet get a COVID-19 vaccine in Florida. The state currently is focusing on people most vulnerable to the virus, which currently includes front-line health care workers and senior citizens aged 65 and older.
Here are five questions you're asking 10 Tampa Bay -- and our answers:
How do I make an appointment?
County health departments have required people to sign up for an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Click or tap here to visit the main Florida Department of Health website and select your county at the top of the page to visit your local office.
Once on your local office website, check the top of the page for a yellow box or a large "headline" about vaccines -- this will point you to your county's latest vaccine information.
Some counties are allowing people to get an appointment online and by phone. Some counties (such as Pasco County) are not accepting appointments by phone.
What do I need to bring with me to my appointment?
Upon signing up for an appointment, you need to bring your ID, a copy of your appointment confirmation and have your consent form on hand.
If you cannot print your appointment confirmation, just be sure to write down your confirmation number.
Similarly, if you cannot print your consent form, one will be provided to you when you arrive to your appointment.
What if I don't get my second dose or wait longer than I should to get it?
Follow the CDC guidelines: Regardless of whether you get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, both require a second dose for the vaccine to be considered fully effective. Missing the second dose does not allow your body time and what it needs to build protection.
The Pfizer vaccine requires a second dose about three weeks later, while the second dose of the Moderna vaccine is needed about a month later. The CDC says a second dose given less than four days after a missed second appointment is considered OK.
But "the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible," the agency said.
If my first dose was the Pfizer vaccine, can my second dose be Moderna? Or vice versa?
No. If you get the Pfizer vaccine, the second dose must be from Pfizer. Same with Moderna. They are not interchangeable, the CDC said.
"The safety and efficacy of a mixed-product series have not been evaluated. Both doses of the series should be completed with the same product," it said.
Do I have to be a resident to get the vaccine?
No. There is not a statewide residency requirement to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Florida Department of Health. The Hillsborough County health department also confirms people do not need to be a resident of the area to get a vaccine.
Still, a person wanting to get the vaccine must be a member of group at greater risk for contracting the virus (health care workers, seniors aged 65 or older).
Here's what Pinellas County says on the topic:
What can we add to this list? What are your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine?
Text the word "vaccine" to 727-577-8522 (message and data rates may apply; check with your wireless provider for details) and we may answer them at a later time.
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