MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - The Manatee County Department of Health is starting to require proof of residence to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This requirement is expected to be imposed when the next round of COVID-19 vaccines are delivered to Manatee County.
Health officials say when the next batch of Coronavirus vaccines arrive, a person must prove that they are living full-time or part-time in Florida before getting vaccinated. Manatee County health officials say a person will need to bring one of three documents to an appointment: a valid driver's license, a bill with the resident's name and address on it, or a part-time rental agreement.
Manatee County resident, Terri Marcus says, "My husband will be 72 and I'm 67, and I have two autoimmune diseases. We haven't been able to have our grandchildren here for nine months and they are used to being here all the time." Marcus says her and her husband have been trying to get the COVID-19 vaccine for weeks. "We've pretty much self-isolated, except doctor's appointments. My husband does all the grocery shopping."
Marcus says after several tries to schedule an appointment, she was finally put in the Manatee County COVID-19 vaccine stand-by pool, in which a county worker will call her if she is randomly selected to receive the vaccine.
Officials with the Manatee County Health Department say after receiving a phone call from the state on Wednesday, they're making some further changes. Nicholas Azzara with the Manatee County Health Department says, "It was clarification yesterday to our local department of health that the new residency requirement would be imposed."
Azzara says the county has not seen cases of people from out of state coming to Manatee for vaccines, but it could be happening elsewhere. "I think that a lot of it was intended to send a message to residents of our border states: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi - so those folks know you shouldn't be crossing the line out of convenience, if Florida has more vaccines than your home state."
Azzara says when the county receives the next batch of COVID-19 vaccines, those in the stand-by pool will be getting more a detailed call, adding, "They are going to try to make sure the person is a full or part-time resident."
While the county says people from Northern states who come to their Florida home for the winter time can still be vaccinated if they prove their residency, Marcus says the requirement may help her get an appointment sooner. "It makes me feel hopeful. I think it's more fair. I just want my life back."
Azzara says if a person from out of state already received their first dose, they will not need to provide proof of residency for their second appointment. CW44 NEws At 10 will provide further updates as they are made available.
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