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Children’s hospital begins mobile pediatric vaccination clinics

By CJ HADDAD - | May 27, 2021

Golisano Children’s Hospital launched a Mobile Pediatric Vaccination Clinic on Tuesday in Lehigh Acres and will continue to travel around Southwest Florida.

The mobile unit’s first-ever stop took place at Family Health Centers and reached families that may not have otherwise been able to receive a vaccination for COVID-19 due to transportation and other factors. Dozens of children, accompanied by parents, lined up to receive their COVID-19 vaccine from the new mobile unit.

“Through this mobile vaccination clinic, we are creating additional access for children 12 years old and older to be able to get their COVID-19 vaccine,” said Alyssa Bostwick, chief nurse executive and vice president of operations at Golisano Children’s Hospital in a statement. “We want to make sure that everyone who wants to be vaccinated has the ability to do so. That’s why we’re taking our COVID-19 vaccination clinic to them. Our goal is to vaccinate as many children as would like to be vaccinated before the next school year starts.”

The Mobile Pediatric Vaccination Clinic is tailored especially for children and staffed with a pediatric registered nurse to administer the vaccine. A special “Pain Ease” spray is on-hand to put on the injection site to alleviate any discomfort or fear of needles that kids sometimes have. The mobile unit also has a pharmacist, EMT or paramedic, and customer service team to assist in the process.

Anyone is welcome and there is no cost for the vaccine. There are no appointments; the Mobile Pediatric Vaccination Clinic is walk-up only.

“The response we’ve gotten from families on our first stop has been amazing,” said Niki Shimko, supervisor for the pediatric critical care transport team at Golisano and leader of the mobile vaccination clinic, in a release. “They’re so appreciative that we’re coming to them. Many of them said they wouldn’t have been able to get a vaccine if it weren’t for this unit.”

The mobile clinic will be traveling throughout Southwest Florida region with future stops planned in Port Charlotte, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres.

Officials said the mobile clinic is also partnering with the School District of Lee County to bring the unit to middle and high schools during dismissal and parent pick-up time in case parents would like to get their children vaccinated at those locations. Days and schools will be announced at a later date on www.leehealth.org under the COVID-19 Community Updates section.

A parent or authorized guardian must accompany a minor for vaccination. The second dose will be set for the same location or one nearby.

– The next stop will be at the Family Health Centers in Lehigh Acres on Thursday, May 27, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additional stops over the next few weeks include:

– Monday, June 7, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Family Health Centers, 4300 Kings Highway, Suite 500, Port Charlotte

– Friday, June 11, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Family Health Centers, 316 Del Prado Blvd. South, Cape Coral

– Monday, June 14, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Family Health Centers, 3415 Lee Blvd., Lehigh Acres

– Thursday, June 17, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Family Health Centers, 3415 Lee Blvd., Lehigh Acres

By the Numbers

As of Thursday afternoon, there are 2,318,480 total cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Florida, an increase of 2,338 since FDOH’s last update Wednesday.

The total number of persons vaccinated as of Thursday throughout Florida was 10,169,597 with 361,920 being in Lee County. According to the state, 8,139,018 individuals have had their vaccine series completed, 298,309 of those being in Lee County.

Test results reported to the Department of Health on Wednesday, May 26, resulted in a 3.20% positivity rate among 86,962 tests.

The state saw its highest daily percentage of positive patients on Dec. 29 when 22.75% percent of tests reported were positive among 62,303 tests.

The average positivity rate in new cases over the last week is 3.73% (4.27% last week).

Of those testing positive, 94,767 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness according to the state.

The death toll increased by 86 from Wednesday’s report, bringing the total number of deaths, both resident and non-resident, to 37,382.

According to the state, hospitalizations in Lee County make up 3% of all positive cases. At the state level, 4% of all positive cases result in hospitalization. The percentage of deaths statewide account for 2% of all cases and, in Lee County, stand at 1% of positive cases.

In Lee County, 73,361 individuals (+83) have tested positive as of Thursday’s update. Positive COVID-19 cases in the county have ranged from infants to a 103-year-old. Lee County saw its first two cases on March 7, when a man and a woman, each 77, tested positive. They had traveled to the Dominican Republic.

There have been 1,004 deaths in Lee County — no increase from Wednesday’s report.

As of Thursday afternoon, Lee Health had 98 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 14 new admissions and 14 discharges since Wednesday. On Wednesday, Lee Health had a 13.4% positivity rate on COVID-19 tests processed through Lee Health Labs. This represents Lee Health results only, not Lee County as a whole. Hospital positivity rates tend to be higher as the tests are performed on patients seeking treatment for a health issue, not the general public that includes asymptomatic individuals.

A total of 6,300 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from Lee Health facilities since the beginning of the pandemic.

Census as of Thursday afternoon was at 95% of staffed operational bed capacity, with 7.2% of those being COVID-19 patients. Staffed operational capacity reflects the number of beds for which the hospital has adequate staffing, not the total number of beds within Lee Health hospitals. Overall bed capacity fluctuates hour to hour as the system discharges patients throughout the day who are ready to go home.

As of Thursday, 73% of ventilators and 22% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

As of Thursday, there were six COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 15 in the intensive care unit.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious viral disease. For most individuals, symptoms are mild. For a minority, the disease becomes a type of viral pneumonia with severe complications. Especially at risk are those who are older, those with underlying health conditions and the immune-compromised.

For more detail on Florida resident cases, visit the live DOH Dashboard.

To find the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19, visit the Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage. For information and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control, visit the CDC COVID-19 website. For more information about current travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State, visit the travel advisory website.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-866-779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj