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(11,949 posts)
Tue Mar 9, 2021, 08:59 PM Mar 2021

Got my first shot from a soldier in the 101st Airborne!

Florida’s COVID distribution plan, a term I use generously, is a cluster. Depending on various grocery stores with each managing their own appointment sites with unsteady resupply and poor communication.

So after spending a few hours trying to work it out and get an appointment I said screw it and drove 30 minutes into west Orlando to one of the FEMA sites. And I witnessed how a competent government handles vaccine distribution in a pandemic.

Showed my Dr.’s script to a nurse and was directed into line. I figured there were 200-300 hundred folks in front of me. The line moved toward a series of tents and I saw what I thought were National Guard doing crowd management. Once I got near the first tent I noticed the screaming eagle on the left shoulder and commented to the man in front of me and the lady behind me(properly spaced) that these are Airborne troops, not national guard! The lady behind me was a Canadian National living in Orlando so I had to explain the difference and gave her a brief rundown of the 101st. I was overheard by one of the Soldiers who committed to his buddy that someone recognized them for what they are and he asked me how I knew. Of course the 101st might be the most famous and well known Division in the US army, but I just told him I recognized his patch. As a walk away he gave an “Air Assault” yell. They all looked like kids! .

Anyway registration and confirming my script was done quickly in 2 other tents then into the vaccination tent where they must have been 30 vaccination stations. After one more confirmation of my identity a young private named Torres gave me my shot. He is from California originally and they shipped down from Ft Campbell in Kentucky to set up and staff the site. Said they were staying in a local hotel.

Finally to another tent for my 15 minutes of observation and on my way home.

Total time truck to truck: 50 minutes!

That is how you get it done! Sites like these should have been replanned and ready to go all around the country when the vaccine began to become available.

My experience today it what good leadership looks like.

My wife is qualified on Monday and we are going early in the morning an hour before they open. The first 500 shots each day are J&J and I want her to get it. I was later and got Pfizer.

19 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Got my first shot from a soldier in the 101st Airborne! (Original Post) GulfCoast66 Mar 2021 OP
Got mine at a large FEMA site too. Very efficient, went well, folks were fun, etc. Hoyt Mar 2021 #1
They should have been planned before the Phoenix61 Mar 2021 #2
Thanks for posting and sharing WA-03 Democrat Mar 2021 #3
HOOAH! TomSlick Mar 2021 #4
But good god I felt old! They looked like kids! GulfCoast66 Mar 2021 #6
There is a reason we feel old when we see young troops. TomSlick Mar 2021 #7
LOL! GulfCoast66 Mar 2021 #8
Me? No, I'm a retired Army Judge Advocate. TomSlick Mar 2021 #10
Well, I got the branch correct! I knew you were a lawyer. GulfCoast66 Mar 2021 #12
Screaming Vaccines!! kairos12 Mar 2021 #5
Thanks for the in person account GulfCoast. Blue_true Mar 2021 #9
Thank you. I briefly felt I like I was jumping the line, but I qualified. GulfCoast66 Mar 2021 #11
Yes. The weather is beautiful right now. Blue_true Mar 2021 #13
About to harvest my cabbage. GulfCoast66 Mar 2021 #14
I am going to be planting companion plants around the tomatoes. Blue_true Mar 2021 #16
slight disagreement. WarGamer Mar 2021 #15
He was talking about Florida. Blue_true Mar 2021 #17
Oh, I agree. GulfCoast66 Mar 2021 #18
I'm heading back to California at the end of the month and hope to get it at my local CVS WarGamer Mar 2021 #19


(16,991 posts)
2. They should have been planned before the
Tue Mar 9, 2021, 09:11 PM
Mar 2021

vaccine was even available. (Of course, that would have required a competent leader.) Biden has done an amazing job to get things up and running so fast.

WA-03 Democrat

(3,037 posts)
3. Thanks for posting and sharing
Tue Mar 9, 2021, 09:28 PM
Mar 2021

Seems like our Commander In Chief is making it happen. The 101st had orders for sure and weren’t there randomly-great story.


(11,949 posts)
6. But good god I felt old! They looked like kids!
Tue Mar 9, 2021, 10:43 PM
Mar 2021

Very well fit and put together kids. But kids.

Something you may appreciate. There were a good many OPD cops there in all their gear. I commented to the man in front of me they seemed less bossy than they normally are. Once I saw the 101st there I realized why! They weren’t they big dog on that campus!

Just leaning on their cruisers watching the soldiers get it done. Realize, our Governor did not welcome the FEMA sites with open arms.

Have a nice week.


(11,082 posts)
7. There is a reason we feel old when we see young troops.
Tue Mar 9, 2021, 10:48 PM
Mar 2021

I just can't remember the reason. First thing to go and all.


(11,949 posts)
8. LOL!
Tue Mar 9, 2021, 11:04 PM
Mar 2021

I’ll tell you this, that was the most professional operation I have seen in a while. The Covid testing sites I went to last year were shambolic in comparison.

I saw 2 people crying as they got their shot and thanking the troopers to the point they seemed embarrassed. I simply thanked private Torres and he said ‘yes sir, just doing my job’.

You were an Army Aviator, correct? Forgive me if I got your branch wrong!


(11,949 posts)
12. Well, I got the branch correct! I knew you were a lawyer.
Tue Mar 9, 2021, 11:14 PM
Mar 2021

Guess I’m getting older too!

Have a nice evening.


(31,261 posts)
9. Thanks for the in person account GulfCoast.
Tue Mar 9, 2021, 11:06 PM
Mar 2021

I don’t expect to have a FEMA site near me. But I know the people at my nearest CVS, so I will check with them.

I am single and have been social distancing as best I can and I wear a mask around everyone. So, I can wait.

I do understand your urgency given what you posted last week about your health and about your concerns for your wife, with her working every day and getting potential exposure from that route.

Take care.


(11,949 posts)
11. Thank you. I briefly felt I like I was jumping the line, but I qualified.
Tue Mar 9, 2021, 11:13 PM
Mar 2021

And protecting my wife has always been my most important role as a husband. Understand, she would bristle at the idea that she needs protection! She is a super successful woman and can take care of herself. But it’s what husbands do. All loving spouses for that matter.

Have a nice evening and a good week. Beautiful weather here in Florida


(31,261 posts)
13. Yes. The weather is beautiful right now.
Tue Mar 9, 2021, 11:23 PM
Mar 2021

I took your advice on when to start tomato plants here in Florida. I already have seedlings growing and will have pretty large plants by May. When I put them into the ground, I will put them in an area that gets a fraction of the sun that is available each day to not stress them.

Again, take care. You’re are doing the right thing using your eligibility for getting vaccinated to scout the vaccine for your wife, I believe that is called being a good Spouse, like you pointed out.


(11,949 posts)
14. About to harvest my cabbage.
Tue Mar 9, 2021, 11:35 PM
Mar 2021

And the last of the Collards. You could grow them thru the winter. Our Mustards have bolted. And the celery is ok but did not do that well. I might not have watered them enough.

Good luck on the tomatoes. In May try not to get the Foliage wet when watering. It may slow down the fungus when hot but not yet raining daily. Once the daily rains start they are done.

Have a safe week.

I’ve a few other tips but PM me if you want them. I’ve hijacked my own thread talking gardening!


(31,261 posts)
16. I am going to be planting companion plants around the tomatoes.
Wed Mar 10, 2021, 12:38 AM
Mar 2021

I tried that while on work assignment up North when I still worked in corporate America. That technique seemed to work really well at holding off the soil fungus and bugs. But this is Florida, so I will see what happens. Live and learn. I did grow tomatoes here in Florida once as a teen, but I drenched them so heavily with insecticide that my parents tried one and refused to use them - lots of tomatoes went to waste.

Take care.


(12,312 posts)
15. slight disagreement.
Wed Mar 10, 2021, 12:01 AM
Mar 2021

You need EVERYWHERE to offer vaccinations, NOT JUST special gov't centers.

Across the country, J&J vaccinations are being sent to local pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid.

Treat this like Flu shots.

It's TERRIBLE planning to only use an empty stadium parking lot with 6 lanes doing drive-thru shots.

A city of 100k may have 25 pharmacies.

200 shots each a day is 5000 shots.

Say 80% of the people WANT shots, community vaccinated in 2+ weeks


(31,261 posts)
17. He was talking about Florida.
Wed Mar 10, 2021, 12:47 AM
Mar 2021

Our governor has been a real ass relative to working with the Biden Administration. I believe the Biden Administration began shipping vaccine directly to Pharmacies around 3 weeks ago, in addition to setting up mass vaccination sites via FEMA. I believe the objective by the FEDs is twofold, have people that can get vaccinated via Pharmacies after negotiating their reservation system, AND having mass vaccination sites for people that have a timeline that they have to meet and can’t wait for Pharmacy reservation systems to get straightened out, or for people who are not computer literate and need the mass vaccination sites or the mobile units that the Biden Administration has launched in some states so they can just walk in with eligibility documents.


(11,949 posts)
18. Oh, I agree.
Wed Mar 10, 2021, 01:59 AM
Mar 2021

But this site is very near communities with no major grocery stores or pharmacies. Disadvantage communities on one side.

I heard they were doing over 2500 a day. I believe it. There were hundreds in front of me and I was out in less than an hour.

Our Governor had no real plan. Except using retail outlets that don’t serve poor communities. And those in red counties got them first. If we had had advanced plans for more of these sites we could get everyone vaccinated in short order. But our Governor did not even want FEMA sites.

Granted the supply was not yet there. But we are approaching the point where supply is not the hold up, but vaccination appointments.

I’ve never seen such a jovial group of people waiting in line like I saw today.


(12,312 posts)
19. I'm heading back to California at the end of the month and hope to get it at my local CVS
Wed Mar 10, 2021, 06:51 PM
Mar 2021

Personally... no way I'd drive an hour plus to Dodger Stadium and wait for 3 hours to get a shot.

I'm getting really optimistic that we may have a normal summer...

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