HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Thousands of local Tampa Bay residents waited in line this morning to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Hillsborough County officials say despite a two hour wait time, the process ran smoothly.

Thousands across Hillsborough County lined up Wednesday morning for their first chance at getting vaccinated against COVID-19. By Saturday, Hillsborough County officials tell CW44 News At 10 that a total of 9,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to residents 65 and older.

Kevin Watler, with the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County described what participants can expect. “When you come on in, you go to a check in area, make sure that they have a reservation [and we perform] a temperature check. And then from there, they’ll go on to the vaccination site and where that’s where they will actually get the vaccine and their arm. Then they’ll go to the observation area for about 15 to 30 minutes, and then they can go on about the day.”

For those of you looking to get vaccinated, officials tell CW44 that the best thing you can do is not only arrive on time, but have that paperwork and have it ready to go. This will help eliminate some of that wait time when you arrive on site.

Hillsborough County mom and daughter Francis and Karon used Wednesday’s vaccination opportunity as a reason to celebrate. “We came out here today on my birthday to get her vaccine.” While waiting in the nearly two hour long line, they pair noticed a need on the other end and Francis stated about her daughter, “She wants to volunteer because she had 24 years in the Navy in the medical department. So we’re trying to find out how and when you go about, you know, being a volunteer or helping out. They need a lot of help out here.”

County officials say if your plans are to get in and to get out like most folks, officials just ask that you remain patient as those weekly vaccine shipments roll in. “Though people are very anxious, they want to get vaccinated, we just ask people to please be patient. It’s really great that people want to get the vaccine, but right now we just don’t have that quantity right yet. It’s coming,” said Watler.

Although vaccination appointments haven’t filled up for the rest of this week, officials tell CW44 they’re already planning ahead for next week.

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