It’s time for many Hillsborough County seniors to get second COVID-19 shot

Hillsborough County officials want to make sure that residents, especially seniors, don’t miss their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

This week hits the 21-day mark for the thousands of residents who got the first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine in Hillsborough County from January 6 to January 9. You’re not fully protected against the virus until you get the second dose.

Healthcare workers at Hillsborough County’s vaccination sites put second shots in arms on Wednesday.

"As far as I'm concerned, this is like a lifesaving move. So that's why I'm doing it," said Fred Burgos, a senior Lutz resident who got his second dose at the Plant City vaccination site. "The first card they gave me they put the time and the day I had to come for the second dose. They were supposed to send me a text or a phone call reminder, but they never did. I showed up anyway."

Hillsborough County switched vendors earlier this month, so officials say some alerts may have slipped through the cracks. But they want to make sure that every person comes back for their second dose.

"If you're expecting a text message or phone call from us, please answer the phone. Please look at your text messages and confirm that you've received our messages because this is the best way to get your scheduled for your second dose," said Jay Rajyaguru, the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue emergency management coordinator.

Seniors are on higher alert for scams, so there’s a concern they may ignore unfamiliar numbers. Rajyaguru said seniors should also be aware that the county’s call center may have to reschedule your appointment to a new time because their hours changed.

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"If for any reason you don't receive a text message or you miss a call, you can still show up to the site, the same site where you got your first dose at," Rajyaguru said.

So if you got the shot in Hillsborough the first week of January, it’s that time again this week.

"I think that if you got the first dose, you know you need the second one. So show up," said Burgos.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine distribution information in Tampa Bay area counties

County vaccine coordinators said their first day for second doses went well, and nearly everyone from January 6 came back on time Wednesday. The county plans to have 1,000 second doses a day for the next 16 days at the vaccination sites.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


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