Published On: Mon, Jan 11th, 2021

Palm Beach County Officials Collaborating With State to Improve Vaccine Availability for Seniors

By: Robert S Weinroth

I am pleased to report the Palm Beach County Commissioners and the county’s emergency officials are working behind the scenes with local Florida Department of Health (FDOH) representatives on logistics to improve the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. 

According to Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the federal government reduced the amount of vaccine available to the FDOH by nearly 50 percent from two weeks ago.

We expect that trend to reverse itself with the announcement Friday of President-Elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s plan to release nearly all available doses and use the Defense Production Act to increase the number of doses being produced.

As the supply of vaccine increases over the next several months, venues to receive vaccinations in Palm Beach County will be expanded.

This strategy will use fixed regionally-located vaccination centers, points of distribution sites (PODS), clinic operations, pharmacies and mobile pop-up community sites.  

The Board of County Commissioners has no control over the distribution nor can the county make appointments for residents to receive the vaccines. The local Florida Department of Health unit is the sole agency with that authority and it is operating under the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis.

We have been advised, to date, the FDOH has only received approximately 25,000 doses.  Vaccine shipments are currently being sent weekly. Last week FDOH received only 7,500 doses. 

The county has over 400,000 seniors and 1.5 million residents.  

Emails sent to the FDOH requesting a vaccination will be held in queue, and as vaccine doses become available, those individuals will be contacted by FDOH. Vaccination appointments are based on vaccine availability.

The FDOH-PBC has advised they have the capability to vaccinate 1,000 people per day, but have not received adequate supplies of the vaccine to reach that goal.

For now, approximately 500 people per day are being vaccinated in the county, according to Dr. Alina Alonso, the FDOH’s local director. She hopes the vaccine will become more readily available for larger distribution in the coming weeks.  

At the same time, a mass COVID-19 vaccination site could open at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach by the end of the month.

The Health Care District of Palm Beach County is looking for COVID-19 vaccine assistants to assist with operations at the future vaccination site which could open at the end of the month.

Until the shipments increase, we are asking our residents to continue to act in a socially responsible fashion and to remain patient.  

About the Author

Robert Weinroth - Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. Commissioner Weinroth serves as County Vice-Mayor and has been appointed Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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