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Lee County relocating primary COVID-19 vaccination site to Edison Mall from RSW starting Wednesday

Officials say the move will allow people waiting for shots to be inside…

Lee County relocating primary COVID-19 vaccination site to Edison Mall from RSW starting Wednesday 1

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Lee County announces COVID-19 vaccination site moving to Edison Mall

Lee County holds a press conference announcing the move of the public vaccination site from RSW park

Andrew West, Fort Myers News-Press

Lee County on Wednesday will relocate its primary COVID-19 vaccination site from the Southwest Florida International Airport to the former Sears building at The Edison Mall in central Fort Myers.

Lee County relocating primary COVID-19 vaccination site to Edison Mall from RSW starting Wednesday 2

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Florida Department of Health unveils new COVID-19 vaccination site at the Edison Mall

Vaccination site is moving from RSW parking lot to the old Sears at the Edison Mall.

Andrew West, Fort Myers News-Press

Officials are making the move as the region’s weather heats up and to allow people waiting for shots to be inside an air-conditioned space. They added that the site can accommodate as many people as the RSW airport site.

Collier County on April 5 similarly moved to a walk-through site at North Collier Regional Park’s Exhibit Hall, citing the increasing heat and humidity. 

“We anticipate a seamless transition,” said Kevin Ruane, chairman of the Lee County Board of County Commissioners. “We’re grateful to move the site indoors so we can prepare for the heat, the thunderstorms and inclement weather. For people coming to the vaccination site, they’ll be comfortable.”

Ruane, flanked by Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno and a smattering of other county officials, announced the relocation during a Monday morning news conference in the commission’s chambers in downtown Fort Myers. In the afternoon, officials led a walk-through of the now-empty site at the mall.

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Lee County has operated its existing vaccination site, located in a parking lot near the airport, for the last 49 days and has administered about 160,000 shots, Ruane said. The Sears building site is about 120,000 square feet, a “comparable” size to the existing vaccine location, he said.

The process for making appointments and receiving reminders for second doses will not change, he said.

Edison is located along a heavily trafficked stretch of U.S. 41 between Winkler Avenue and Colonial Boulevard. For now, the Sheriff’s Office is not making any recommendations on how best to drive to the site.

The airport site is located in much-less traveled roadways to an area of the airport property most members of the public have previously had little reason to visit.

“Obviously, the mall presents a different dynamic with traffic,” Marceno said. “But I’m very, very confident in my team.” He added later: “We will control the traffic the best we can and, any issues that come up, we’re ready for everything that comes our way.”

County officials also note that the mall site is located closer to less-affluent communities and is on existing bus routes.

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As of April 5, all Florida residents 18 and older are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. According to Florida Department of Health data available on Monday, nearly 5.9 million Floridians have received at least one dose of vaccine.

In addition to the county’s site, the shots are available at a variety of retail pharmacies, including those at Publix and CVS. Clinics operated by Lee Health also have limited supplies that are reserved for patients they select.


To pre-register for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Lee County, visit myvaccine.fl.gov or call 1-866-200-3468. In Collier County, call 239-252-6220, any day of the week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or email covid19collier@flhealth.gov.

Frank Gluck is a watchdog reporter with The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. Connect with him at fgluck@news-press.com or on Twitter: @FrankGluck

Lee County relocating primary COVID-19 vaccination site to Edison Mall from RSW starting Wednesday 3

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