Manatee, Sarasota counties told more vaccine is on the way

Monday started off with disappointing news in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Officials said they expected little, if any, new COVID-19 vaccines this week. But hours later, something changed and now it appears more vaccines are on the way. 

Last Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis said more vaccines would be heading south to Manatee County.

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

"I’ve told my folks to make sure we keep sending vaccine to this area in this vaccine site because they’re making good use of it," DeSantis said.

Monday morning, it seemed like a different story. A press release from the county said it expected very little, if any additional vaccine doses to arrive this week, and at a press conference in Sarasota County, officials said they weren't expecting any more vaccines at all.

But hours later, a surprise: the state sent 1,000 doses each to Manatee and Sarasota counties.

"I think the important thing for people to remember is the vaccine is being distributed throughout the nation and not just Florida and Sarasota County," said Steve Huard from the Florida Department of Health - Sarasota County.

As Sarasota County makes plans to distribute its allotment, it’s also working on a new scheduling system and opening a drive-through vaccination site.

Meanwhile, Sarasota County canceled appointments that had been made for the required booster shot. County officials said they are developing a simpler plan to distribute the booster, involving a drive-through site.

"As we move forward through vaccine distribution throughout the entire states right here in Florida we need to be aware and not married to that 28-day mark. If there is a delay after the 28 days of getting the booster vaccine, it will still be effective. We just need to be more thoughtful of how everybody is getting the vaccine. The more people who get it in the first shot, it brings us up to a level of protection higher than 87%. That’s very good for the community. That will help our virus rates diminish," Huard said.

The Sarasota County health department says it will contact everyone to let them know about the change in plans for those booster shots.