The Naples Senior Center hosts a vaccine booster clinic by appointment only


At 102, there isn’t much that surprises Joseph Innes, not even the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was not a problem,” he said.

When the Air Force veteran who flew B-17s in World War II received his vaccine booster on Monday in Center for the elderly of Naples, his reaction was succinct: “I didn’t feel anything.

The nonprofit, which provides social service programs to approximately 1,400 members aged 60 and over, on Monday launched a vaccine booster clinic in conjunction with the Collier County Department of Health for people 65 years of age and over.

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Booster injections are by appointment only, and the next clinic will be Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The center is located at 5025 Castello Drive.

Center staff communicate with the 7,400 seniors in the community they helped sign up for the vaccine when vaccines first became available in early January.

The plan is to offer the boosters to people who have been helped with the initial set of vaccines, said Jaclynn Faffer, president and chief operating officer of the senior center. Staff members first contact older elderly people to ask if they need the booster.

When the vaccine became available to the elderly in Florida in January, online registration was difficult for many, and appointments at Publix, the health department and other places were nearly impossible for people to obtain. vulnerable elderly.

The senior center was the registration source for many older residents of the community, not just its members, to obtain the Moderna vaccine in the North Collier Regional Park Health Department field operations.

When the center started receiving calls about the recalls, Faffer said she decided to contact the health department to set up callback clinics.

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As of Monday, 100 appointments were scheduled, and that will likely be the number for future clinics, she said. There is no scheduled time for the shutdown clinics to stop, she said.

Even though it’s easier to get a booster than when vaccines first became available, older people know about the center, she said.

“They love to come to us, and I’m so happy we do,” she said. “We have truly become the central address for senior services.

Marie Bonazzi of Naples receives her COVID booster at the Naples Senior Center along with around 100 other seniors during a clinic hosted by the Collier County Department of Health on Monday, November 1, 2021 in Naples.

All 20 staff and 225 volunteers had to be vaccinated when the center reopened in August, she said. The center manages around 30% of its programs. Temperatures are controlled and masks are compulsory.

About 14 million Floridians have been vaccinated, which includes nearly 4.6 million people aged 65 and over, according to the state’s DOH Weekly Report ending Oct. 28. That’s an 89% vaccination rate for this age group. The total vaccination rate for all ages is 73%.

Cases have dropped dramatically since the delta variant outbreak in August and September. The state reported 12,880 new cases for the week ending Oct. 28 for a 3% positivity rate.

The state’s cumulative volume of cases since the start of the pandemic in 2020 is 3,647,277, according to the DOH.

Seniors are happy to have a reminder

Innes, who moved to Naples in 2005 from Washington DC, where he previously worked for the US Department of Transportation and Ford Motor Co., said he was glad he got his booster.

“It was painless and makes me feel safe,” he said.

He sums up his longevity by saying, “The first 100 years were easy.

Lisa Adamczyk, director of nursing in the health department, said what the center does is helpful.

“I think it’s very beneficial to be in a place that you know,” she said.

Moira Burke receives her COVID reminder on Monday, November 1, 2021 at the Naples Senior Center.

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Joy and Jerald Spivak, who moved to Naples from New Jersey in 2000, were grateful that the center was helping with recalls, just as they were with appointments for the original vaccine series.

“I don’t think we would have gotten it without this organization,” said Joy Spivak, 79. “It was the light at the end of the tunnel.”

With no family nearby, they lived in a state of near panic about contracting COVID-19, she said. But after receiving the vaccines and now the boosters, they started hanging out more with vaccinated friends, she said.

“We are very careful at our age,” she said.

Charlene and John Wagner, who are 84 and 93 respectively and returned from Ohio in early October, were elated when they received the call from the center about the booster shots.

“They are doing a fantastic job,” she said. “We are happy to be done. “

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