COVID-19 medical illustration

COVID-19 Vaccination

Boca Grande Hits Major COVID-19 Milestone

May 28, 2021 – A monumental milestone has been reached in our Island’s fight against COVID-19 as the Boca Grande Health Clinic has now vaccinated more than 3,100 patients and members of the Island community with their first and/or second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’ve come a long way in protecting the health of Boca Grande.”

Mark Driscoll, Boca Grande Health Clinic CEO

In early January, a very limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine was received, and the Clinic began efforts to meet on-island demand in earnest. “The goal was to vaccinate everyone on the Island that expressed interest as quickly as we were able to and within the limitations of available supply,” said Driscoll.

Following state guidelines, the Clinic used a medically focused and age stratified vaccine allocation system, weighing age and risk factors, to schedule vaccination appointments for those who expressed interest – beginning with the most vulnerable patients. As more vaccine became available, the Clinic opened appointments to eligible employees of local businesses that took the BG pledge, and eventually Florida residents 18 years of age and older. The Clinic followed a COVID-19 vaccination process that is similar to its drive-through flu shots and COVID-19 testing clinics.

Driscoll noted that throughout the entire pandemic and continuing through the administering of COVID-19 vaccinations, there’s been no staff member who contracted COVID-19, crediting the clinical team’s constant attention to quality and safety. “I want to thank our staff and volunteers for their tireless dedication in these extraordinary times,” he said.

If you meet state requirements and are still in need of COVID-19 vaccination, please contact the Clinic at 941-964-2276. Hours are 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.

What about masks?

With more people fully vaccinated, the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention has said that Americans do not need to follow precautions at all (not masks nor distancing) except for as required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. 

What this means is that each business and individual can make their own decision on how they feel safe, and this may need to adjust with changing levels community transmission. Here are some points to keep in mind as we make our own decisions:

  • The possibility of asymptomatic transmission from a fully vaccinated person still exists.
  • We don’t know who is and who is not fully vaccinated and everyone is on the honor system.
  • Most children (under 12 years of age) will not be eligible for vaccines for at least another year. 
  • Even some who think they are fully vaccinated, are not. Persons who take medications for rheumatologic or autoimmune disease, blood cancer patients (with lymphoma or leukemia) and persons on medication for organ transplant, often DO NOT RESPOND to two doses of vaccine and do not make antibodies after two doses of vaccine. That means they are not protected like everyone else who is vaccinated even though they are fully vaccinated themselves. So, if you have one of these underlying conditions, or have someone in your household that does, you may want to consult with your physician before deciding to throw all precautions to the wind.
  • There are still several million others that remain unvaccinated for personal preference reasons. 
  • We don’t know how long the protection from the authorized vaccines will last.
  • As there are still well documented long-term effects of even mild infection with COVID-19, some known and likely more unknown, it is still better not to get infected at all.
  • With more folks unmasked, the last layer of protection disappears for the unvaccinated. This only underscores the call for all of us to get vaccinated.

It’s still safest to take precautions

  • If you are in a public indoor space that shares air with others, not in your household, it is wise to wear a mask regardless of vaccine status, particularly in a larger or crowded group. 
  • If you are in a crowded outdoor space or one where safe distancing is difficult, it is wise to wear a mask regardless of vaccine status. 
  • Stick with your family at the pool. If it’s crowded, go to the beach.
  • Outdoor dining is still safest. 

Masks fill in the gaps left by the limitations of vaccines. Let’s all respect each other’s choices to take the precautions that make each of us feel safe and comfortable in our unique situation. Bonus: you probably won’t get the flu either!

Additional information: