Vaccine, Publix, Palm Beach County, Coronavirus, Ron DeSantis, Florida Indian River, St. Lucie counties to offer COVID-19 vaccine

So we at the beginning of this month, we’re looking for other ways to be able to get vaccines in the communities for senior citizens, and so we launched the pilot project with publix in three counties: citrus hernando, marion over 22 different stores. We had a good response from that. So then we’ve expanded the partnership and we’re now in counties in the panhandle in southwest florida, palm beach, martin, saint john’s, volusia, flagler and so it’s been good, so there’s been over 242 different stores where folks can go in uh. Get a vaccine and usually that’s within a mile or two of their homes and so that’s very convenient, particularly for elderly people. So today, we’re happy to be able to announce that we’re expanding the public’s program to include eight publix pharmacies in indian river, county Music and 11 publix pharmacies in st lucie county and so they’re going to be offering the vaccine later this week. I believe tomorrow morning, you’ll be able to go online and sign up for appointments and it’s important to know this is by appointment only and so get on there get it. The appointments go very quickly. I mean i think most people understand we’re getting about 266. 000 initial doses a week now we obviously have demand that far outstrips that, so you got to get in early, you know, get those appointments, but that will now bring us up to 261 publix pharmacies in 20 different counties in florida that are going to be offering Covid vaccines for senior citizens, and so this is a good uh good progress.

It puts it in even more communities, and now we have it from palm beach on the east coast of florida. Really all the way up, i believe, into st john’s and so we’ve got a lot covered. There we’ve got a handful of counties on the southwest florida coast, panhandle counties and then as well, some on the nature coast, so we’re going to keep doing that. It is by appointment only so folks. Just please understand that covid vaccine, the two sign up windows this week. The first sign up window is going to be wednesday morning, so you go on you’ll, be able to sign up you’ll, be able to make an appointment. Now, there’s a lot of people that are trying to sign up at that same time, so just understand that the second opportunity to sign up will be on friday morning. It’Ll be the same deal same website, and we appreciate publix for for stepping up and doing this, and i think that i’ve been able to visit – probably a dozen publics over the past few few weeks. Speaking with folks who were actually getting the shots and the seniors were very appreciative, they thought it was a good process. Obviously getting that appointment. You know you got to be quick on the trigger, but once we’re able to do that, i think it’s. I think it works very well, so we’ll keep doing that. We are happy to report uh. You know the reporting.

When someone gets a shot, it still needs to be reported in the system that takes 24 48.72. Sometimes it takes five days to get all that in, but we do have reported the first state in the country to reach one million seniors reported for shots, Music Applause and there’s, no state that’s, even close to that we’re. Hundreds of thousands ahead of the next closest state, we’re all we’ve, also vaccinated, roughly 22 percent of all 65 and up in the state of florida, and that is either first tied for first or just second in the country with west virginia who’s done a great job. So we’re proud of that we’re proud that we’re putting seniors first as soon as as we get more vaccine there’s going to be more seniors that have an opportunity to get it and we’re happy to be able to provide that that option for them. We also are now what you’re going to start seeing is you’re going to start seeing more and more second doses administered. So when the first came in in december, a lot of that was healthcare workers. We have seen them get their second dose, particularly of the pfizer, but now that we’re getting towards the end of january you’re, going to start having the sec. The booster shot do particularly for seniors that got to moderna with the 28 days so that’s. You know really going to start to take hold this week and in the next, so those numbers where you would do 10, 15, 000 booster shots a day.

Those are going to go up dramatically, and so, if you’re, looking at kind of the distributions in florida, a lot of the distributions that are going to start to go are really those second doses. The first doses we get in we’re doing more than 266 thousand a week, and so we’ve asked for more of those doses now that you’re having the moderna and even the pfizer with some of the seniors, as you saw more seniors, get it in early january. Second week of january, then, you’re gon na start to see that booster, but we believe that the booster is important and it’s a two shot regimen and so those boosters. If you get a shot at publix three weeks ago, they’re getting the booster shot sent to them. For you to have that appointment to be able to do it, i know some people are saying. Well, just you know, use those shots for something else. You know people i think seniors want to make sure they have access to both shots. So we’re going to be we’re going to continue to do it, but we’re now at over a million seniors reported because of the lag we’re, probably 1.1 or even more in terms of those seniors. Who’Ve actually received the shot and then we’re going to keep going forward. So we’re appreciate having publix here. I think that there’s a i think that there’s been a lot of interest in this remember wednesday morning and friday morning.

Two windows to go up and sign up in publix is just one thing that we’re doing it’s a way to get it in communities, but we have, in conjunction with county health departments, stood up 77 community vaccination sites throughout the state of florida. Every florida county, all 67 counties have at least one place where you seniors can go to receive the vaccine. We also have some major sites like hard rock stadium, which does the drive through test model, and we continue to partner with houses of worship to be able to do that on a sunday morning when people are going to church so we’re going to continue to do It we are appreciative of having publix on board and we’re going to continue to work with folks, as we continue to get more vaccines in so i’m happy to be here, and i want to thank them for their partnership and with that take a couple. Yes, sir. Well, that’s disingenuous um. We are number one in the country for doses per capita for the top 10 states, the top 10 most populous states, florida’s now that’s according to cdc data um. And then, if you look when i did my press conference yesterday, i explained how these doses work with the second doses coming in, and so, if you look, we do first doses, 300, 000, plus a week at a minimum. The last three weeks we did 455 thousand two weeks ago, we’ll see last week’s numbers as it comes in, but we’re not going to divert second doses away from seniors seniors.

Want it we’re gon na do it. So if the implication is you should be giving those doses away to other people that’s not the way the fda has prescribed it, and so we are absolutely committed to that and we’re going to continue doing. As i said, you’re going to see those numbers really start to jump, but you know if someone is due moderna 28 days and we get the second dose on day 24 they’re going to have the appointment and they’re going to get that dose that’s the way it Works but but the fact is, if you look of the top 10 most populous states, we’re number one in doses per capita. We are number one by far with the number of seniors that have been able to be vaccinated and we have the throughput that if we can get more first doses given to florida, we would be able to do that much more that much quickly, and so that Is really the number one thing that we can get help from the federal government on because we’re at the mercy of whatever is sent so if they send five hundred thousand first doses instead of 266? I can double the drive through sites. I can give more to hospitals, i can expand publics and we have a lot of public stores but there’s a lot more publics throughout the state of florida. So the possibilities really are endless and it’s just contingent on getting more of those first doses of the vaccine, but we are going to have second doses for senior citizens and if the white house is suggesting that we shouldn’t be doing that, i think that that’s, not A good suggestion, what’s up well palm beach county, has 67 publics that are offering it, so they have a lot of options for their residents and, i think it’s, just a matter of what’s the most easy for folks.

I think palm beach they had when i met with the county mayor and all those county folks, and we told them all the different things that are going on. Obviously they had things we told them about publix. They were like yeah bring that here we think it’ll be good because they have so many seniors that live so close to a publix. 90 percent of their seniors live within a mile and a half of at least one publix and so that’s. How you’re doing it so out of the 266 publix is in out of the 250 stores. I think they’re at about. They get about 70 000 to spread out over those 250 stores, but you know they’re doing 50 to 100 shots at each store a day, so they can run through that pretty quickly and again, whether you get it at a drive through site, whether you get it At your local publix, whether you get it there, the important thing is is that people are getting shots, and so we have the capacity. If, if we got more first doses, we could add a lane to a drive through site that’s, very easy to do. You can do more with conjunction with county health. I have hospitals that could do a lot more and they want to do a lot more and it’s, really all contingent. So all this stuff is spread out as best we can to try to cover every place in florida.

Not every place has a robust hospital infrastructure in florida. Some have very good hospital infrastructure. Not every place has a lot of sites. You know that they’re county health students, some are doing a lot. Others aren’t so we’re just making sure that we spread it out so that folks are able to do what we don’t want is have someone we want to try to get it so it’s convenient to people, and so you have a place to go without having to Drive all over all over god’s green earth to be able to to get a shot so that’s. Why publix, i think, has been helpful in that regard. So here’s the so the thing is is all we need is more doses i mean so, if they’re going to like give us more doses, and they want to do that – i mean, but i don’t think that’s going to happen overnight. I think that probably will take a while, and so, if it’s taking the current doses, we haven’t diverting it to that. I don’t, i think that’s robbing peter to pay paul. If you get us more doses, but the thing is, is i i think most governors are saying the same thing too. We have the throughput um, your you have every place. That’S doing this can do more, so i think just get more doses. That is really the number one thing you know that we’re going to be doing as i went through the numbers yesterday, you know as as of monday morning and we got we’re getting shipment yesterday and today wednesday, so those numbers are probably populated, but we really, you Know those all won’t start going until probably wednesday, but we had about 1.

7 million first doses delivered and we had reported by then 1.25 million administered but of course there’s a lag in this reporting, so we were probably closer to 1.3 or 4. Then monday, tuesday wednesday. You would do the rest, so we’re pretty much going through the first doses and i think that’s really what what you need. Most of the other doses that we had had are the second shots that come in and those go to the places that the first doses were administered. So if you went to the county health department on on january, 2nd, well guess what, on january 30th they’re going to have this the second dose for you there, because that’s, the that’s, what the fda has recommended and so that’s what we’re following governor instead of um! Instead of having these mass distribution things would you be opposed if counties wanted to have say a distribution for people 80 and over or something like that? What we should, they can tell me anyone 65, and over is eligible. You know we obviously target people that are very elderly in like nursing homes and in some of those things, and i think that that’s fine, we have other hot. We have some hospitals who are doing home visits to some of the folks who may be homebound. We think that that’s fine as well so bottom line is you know we want everyone 65 and up to get it clearly. Someone that’s 66, probably has more wherewithal to be able to get it than someone that’s 86, and so, if they want to, they want to focus on really elderly people.

I think that that’s that’s totally legitimate ability for counties to do that if it’s obviously going to be 66 year olds, who are more able to go in that’s, not well that’s, not obviously true, i mean there’s there’s. We have a a whole range of folks. I was there, i was in fort myers the other day. You know there were folks in their eighties that were waiting and and thought it was. They thought it was really well so so i don’t think that that’s a that’s a issue well right, but i mean i don’t, but i don’t think that that’s fair to say that this is all 66. I think it’s uh. I think you have a wide variety of folks: who’ve been able to utilize it and uh and i think it’s been um. I i think it’s been a good good thing. Excuse me, you mean to help the counties with like appointments and things like that. Well right. Well, but i mean that’s a separate issue, so the question is: is you know, should you just book people all in advance without knowing what the vaccine schedule is going to be the problem with that is then people get their appointments canceled and that people really get Frustrated when that happens, so the counties who had problems reached out so the state is providing support. So people are using websites to be able to make reservations. We also have some sites that operate by phone now, that’s very difficult to do, because you have a lot of people, it’s, it’s, very costly and time consuming to do so.

There’S been a variety of ways, but i would say, with with these sites, like publix has to do it too there’s a crush of people that want to get on, and so they have to throttle it. So it goes slower, uh, but that’s. All designed to be able to let people get through uh so that you’re able to do it so um. So the we’ve worked with the counties uh with website support have provided it. I know a number of them are using are using it and you know it seems to be an improvement from from what we were doing before so we’ll.

What do you think?

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