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The first day of a three-day vaccine clinic at the Volusia County Fairgrounds in DeLand got off to a smooth start Jan. 21 with many more doses than were available at previous fairgrounds events.

Nevertheless, all the appointments for the three-day event were claimed within 30 minutes after online registration opened Jan. 20. Still, the increased supply was welcome.

At the Volusia County vaccination clinic Jan. 14-15, only 500 doses were available each day. This time, some 1,200 vaccinations were available for each day. 

There was heavier traffic, but many more happy people, including Edgewater residents Philip and Sylvia Angelini, ages 73 and 69, respectively. 

Philip Angelini has breathing problems, his wife told The Beacon, so the two have taken the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously. They also have medical professionals in the family — two of their daughters are registered nurses. 

“I tip my hat to them,” Philip Angelini said. “They deserve it more than any of us.” 

Still, the two were happy to receive their first COVID-19 shots. 

Along for the ride was their puppy, Rosebud. Rosebud did not receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

FIRST RESPONDERS — First-responders Joseph Silversto, left, and Kenroy Griffiths are on staff at all Volusia County vaccination events to keep an eye on people after they receive their shots. Another first responder on-site was firefighter James Stasko. “We like helping people out,” he said. “That’s why we became first responders.”

Another couple who got their shots were Bill and Ann Gibson. 

The two had their daughter help them sign up for an appointment. 

“We’re too old for that,” Bill Gibson said. 

They had tried to get into previous clinics, like the much-maligned first-come, first-served vaccination clinic in Daytona Beach Jan. 4

When they saw the line of cars backed up for miles at 5 a.m., they decided to wait for another opportunity. In the meantime, Volusia County switched to appointment-only clinics.

When she received the vaccine shot, Ann Gibson said, she cried; not because it hurt, but out of pure relief. 

NOTHING BEATS EXPERIENCE — Nurses Karen Victor, left, and Laura Anderson prepare to administer COVID-19 vaccinations. Victor and Anderson have been nurses for 23 and 35 years, respectively. When The Beacon asked whether they had administered vaccines before, the two laughed. “I’ve given a few injections before,” Anderson said.

Volusia County spokeswoman Kate Sark said she hopes the trend of receiving more shots of the vaccine continues. 

“Fingers crossed,” she said. “We’re hoping we get more and more.” 

In addition to more doses, another change for this clinic was a requirement for patients to present proof of Florida residency, as ordered by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week. 

The more than 3,000 available appointments at the fairgrounds filled up in less than 30 minutes the morning of Jan. 20, when registration opened. Vaccinations will continue to be administered to those with appointments for the next two days of the clinic, Jan. 22 and Jan. 25. 

For up-to-date information about the next vaccine distribution event, check the Volusia County Department of Health COVID-19 vaccination page here

The Beacon will continue to update our COVID-19 Q&A with the newest information, as well as our social media pages, including Facebook and Twitter

STECKERS — Port Orange residents Ezariah and Betty Stecker received their first COVID-19 shots at the Volusia County Fairgrounds Jan. 21. Betty Stecker said she was worried the shot would hurt, but didn’t feel a thing. Her husband said he was happy they were able to get an appointment at all. “We’re just excited to get it out of the way,” he said.

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