HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Lani Rodriguez is a Hillsborough County teacher who had the day off on Monday and spent that time getting her COVID-19 vaccine.
“As soon as I could get an appointment, I made one and this was the first one that popped up. I’m just happy to try to be safe,” said Rodriguez.
The Biden administration is letting K-12 teachers and child care workers get vaccinated at pharmacies and federally-run sites across the U.S., such as the new FEMA site at the Tampa Greyhound Track.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lowered the vaccine eligibility for teachers last week to ages 50 and up. The priority is still “seniors first,” DeSantis said.
“I’m very grateful. I think the President making that announcement and saying educators should be a priority was huge,” said Rodriguez.
Mary Ross is also a teacher and has been waiting to get her vaccine for months.
“I teach about 150 students a day and I feel it’s very important that all of the teachers get vaccinated. We can’t distance as much as we’d like to in the classroom and we want everyone to be safe,” said Ross.
Until last week, she thought she would have to wait even longer.
“I was thrilled, cause I was afraid we’d have to wait another few months and I’m ecstatic to finally get the first dose and and be on our way to ending this pandemic,” said Ross.
Both educators joined many others at Ed Radice Park where Hillsborough County has set up a vaccine distribution location.
“So far it’s been pretty busy. We do have, I think, 999 appointments today, so we do have a good flow of appointments from 8:00 am all the way to 4:00 when we close today,” said Jay Rajyaguru with Hillsborough County.
The county is only accepting people in approved categories for the vaccine and anyone with an appointment must be able to prove they are eligible.
“They do ask for documentation when you get here. You have to show either an employer I.D., license number, a badge, something like that proves you are a teacher, health care worker, firefighter,” said Rajyaguru.