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Leaders Discuss COVID Vaccine Distribution In Leon County

Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey
Elected officials, health care and education leaders met with Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey to discuss how distribution of the new coronavirus vaccine has been going.

Leaders in charge of distributing the new COVID-19 vaccine to seniors and health care workers across Leon County are expressing concern about limited supply and a slow rollout.

As of Sunday, Leon County 11,177 residents had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Florida Department of Health’s coronavirus vaccination update shows. About

The local department had administered 2,844 shots, said Claudia Blackburn, the health officer for DOH-Leon County

“We’re getting it out just as fast as it comes in. That’s the goal,” Blackburn said. “We want to get all of our vaccinations into arms within a week, so that we can get more as it’s available.”

The local health department recently closed its online registration form due to high demand for the the vaccine, Blackburn said. As a result, the department has a list of 14,000 names of people who requested a vaccine.

Health care staff and volunteers are calling them to schedule appointments as the department gets confirmation that more doses are on the way, Blackburn said. “That is the system that we have right now,” she said. “We understand that the state is securing a more sophisticated scheduling system that should be in place by the end of this week.”

Blackburn says the governor’s office is in charge of deciding how much vaccine counties receive and when they can get it. Dean Watson is with Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. He says he spoke with state officials over the weekend about the hospital’s next shipment.

“The supply is absolutely limited heading into the state,” Watson said. “A lot of great questions, but nobody has answers because nobody even knows in the state how many they’re going to get.”

About 41,000 people 65 and older live in the county. Watson says the hospital and its partners have altogether administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 16 percent of them.

“They’re looking at their highest risk populations. They have a long list of those they’re communicating with and setting up schedules for vaccinations,” he said.

Watson says with enough supply the number of people vaccinated per week in Leon County could reach at least 10,000 residents if all healthcare providers throughout the community participate.

Neighborhood Medical Center and Bond Community Health Center, Inc. are vaccinating their patients.

Florida A&M University and Florida State University have received doses. Both campuses are setting appointments for their 65 and older staff this week, and health clinics across the community will also continue administering doses.