DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Hundreds of senior citizens over 65 parked around a Daytona stadium overnight Sunday into Monday in anticipation of the first day of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
About 1,000 people were vaccinated on Monday at the drive-thru location. Doses were given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
But as of 6:13 a.m., the vaccination site reached capacity.
Vaccinations began at 9 a.m.
Another 1,000 doses will be distributed on Tuesday.
In a news release on Monday, the county said the first 1,000 people were allowed to enter the 64-acre Daytona Stadium through the facility’s north entrance starting at 7 p.m. Monday for Tuesday's vaccinations.
The change was made to alleviate early morning traffic congestion on LPGA Boulevard and surrounding roads.
LIVE UPDATES: FOX 35 will monitor the line as opening hours approach
"We rode it out," Jim Daniels, of Daytona Beach, said. "It was a rough night, but we’re glad we did it and happy to be here."
Daniels and his family waited in line outside the Daytona Stadium for 15 hours to get one of Volusia County’s first coronavirus vaccines for seniors 65 and up.
They were not the only ones.
FOX 35 saw cars lined up outside the stadium for at least there and a half miles early Monday morning.
"We miss all our kids, our five kids and all our grandchildren. We’ve been hunkering down for 10 months. I'm done," MJ Frascino said.
Many people brought their RVs to wait in.
Seniors on Sunday said they were prepared to stay out all night.
Some even said they used the bathroom in the woods.
"I’m 75 years old and I’ve never sat all night for anything in my life. Not a concert, football game, nothing," said Joe Leatherbury.
"I brought my crocheting, breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, a blanket and pillow," said Helen Waugh.
Frustration grew throughout the night as seniors were told they could not park around the stadium until 4 a.m.
Daytona Beach police also announced that people should refrain from camping overnight earlier in the week.
"They tell us they’re going to give us a ticket. Give me a ticket. I’ll pay $100 to be safe," Fayna Lutz said.
"We’re staying, and if the cops wanna tow us, they’re gonna need a lot of tow trucks," Ken Vandenberg said.
However, police confirmed that officers would not be ticketing for parking, citing that "safety is the most important thing. The PD just doesn’t want the roadway obstructed."
By 10 p.m. Sunday, the cars began forming a single-file line alongside LPGA Boulevard.
Then before 7 a.m., the city opened the gates to the vaccination site early.
"This ushering into the facility earlier than anticipated was to alleviate traffic along our major thoroughfares in the city," Daytona Beach Deputy City Manager Dru Driscoll said.
The city and the county health department expect long lines at the stadium again on Tuesday, but do not want people to camp out overnight for the vaccine.
"Food, sleeping bags, portable toilet, everything... I’m ready to camp out overnight," Vandenberg said.
Only the Moderna vaccine will be provided at this initial vaccination event. Each person will receive a 2nd dose reminder card that lists the date and the manufacturer of the shot.
"I’m done. I’m done. It’s like I want a vaccine so we can get our life back," Frascino said.
More vaccine events are planned for later this week.
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