Frequently Asked Questions

Bill Noble, of the Village of Bridgeport at Lake Miona, rolls up his sleeve as he prepares to get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Marcia Scott, of American Medical Response, at a drive-thru vaccine site in a lot at Buffalo Ridge Shopping Center. Vaccination efforts at the site are on hold this week.

Where can I get a vaccine?

After 6 a.m. today it’s possible to get an appointment Saturday at more than 100 Florida Publix stores. Go to publix.com/covidvaccine to check for availability at Publix locations, including one at Mulberry Grove Shopping Plaza. Other entities are awaiting additional doses. Read the Daily Sun daily for any updates.

When will Global Medical Response have vaccines?

As with all vaccination sites, that depends on vaccine availability. GMR reports to the state each day how many people are signed up through its program. As of Thursday, GMR was still waiting to hear from state officials on possible vaccine quantities and arrival date. When vaccines are available, GMR will reschedule appointments in the order they were received. Appointments already made for second doses will remain as scheduled until further notice. A representative of GMR said in the future, it will only release vaccine appointments for the vaccines it has.

Will vaccines from other companies be available soon?

Johnson & Johnson’s experimental one-shot COVID-19 vaccine generated a long-lasting immune response in an early safety study. The company expects to get definitive efficacy data from a final-stage study by early next month, potentially leading to regulatory authorization by March. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he expects drugs made by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca to get federal approval soon.

I haven’t signed up yet, but I want a vaccine. Should I still sign up with GMR?

Yes. GMR encourages people to still sign up at https://sumterfl.saferestart.net for two reasons: It puts you on a wait list for when vaccines do become available, and it helps GMR quantify demand for the vaccine, which it reports to the state.

Do not add “www” to https://sumterfl.saferestart.net as it can result in a security warning. People may bypass the input of Social Security information online. Insert all ones or zeros and that information will be collected on-site when vaccinations start again. The vaccines are free and the company does not receive compensation, but it can file an insurance claim for reimbursement, which the Social Security information is needed for. Those without computer access can go to Villages public libraries at 325 Belvedere Blvd. and 7375 Powell Road (closed Sundays). Anyone with questions can email sumtercovid19@gmr.net.

Will the county health departments be offering more vaccinations?

The Lake County Health Department distributed vaccines at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Mount Dora this week, but has yet to announce if and when it will reopen next week for vaccinations. After closing the Clermont vaccination site, the department said in a news release it would open a new site in Groveland after “the next large shipment of vaccines comes in.”

It will start administering second doses next week. If you got your first dose with Lake County Health Department you will get an email or call with site and appointment information. Marion County Health Department had to suspend vaccine sign-ups after it reached 50,000 registrants.

Additionally, Lake County government launched an appointment system for vaccines it will give at a separate location. Go to scheduling.lakecountyfl.gov/. Text COVIDUPDATE to 888777 for updates.

Is there any new news on an antibody drug that could work for those infected until more people are vaccinated? 

It’s already known that hospitals can use bamlanivimab, an investigational monoclonal antibody therapy recently granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for patients who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 conditions. On Thursday, drugmaker Eli Lilly announced findings of a first major study to show such a treatment may prevent illness for residents and staff of long-term care facilities. Those who got the drug in the study had a 57% lower risk of getting COVID-19 compared to others in the same facility who received a placebo. Experts have said drugs like Lilly’s could serve as a bridge to help manage the virus until vaccines are widely available.