FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – “The vaccine rollout is going very well and terrible — simultaneously.”
Those are the words of Broward County Mayor Steve Geller.
Many of the kinks have been worked out. They have the tents and the manpower. The problem here is the supply.
“The famous stockpile that [the federal government] kept promising us ... they found out in the last week that, from the prior administration, there was no stockpile,” Geller said.
Geller says they need to tighten the reins now, secure the supply and distribute the shots carefully.
With the COVID-19 vaccine in such high demand, Broward commissioners have joined the governor in voting to prioritize the shots for Florida residents.
State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees signed a public health advisory to that effect on Thursday.
“We have an extremely limited amount of vaccine that should be reserved for Florida residents and people who are in Florida for many months at a time,” Geller said.
The system is stressed, as seen in the lines at vaccination sites. And it’s hard enough to snag an appointment in Broward.
Some are showing up at the vaccine sites to try, despite being told not to.
“A lot of people are trying to sneak in,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said. “A lot of people are coming from outside the area, other countries, other states, other counties.”
Those crowds are why one vaccination site was moved from Fort Lauderdale’s Holiday Park to nearby Snyder Park.
The long lines at Holiday Park were spilling out onto major roadways.
Officials are hoping the state can secure more doses soon, saying they’re ready to expand their sites.
“The county has been planning on setting up three additional [sites] that we held off on, simply because we don’t have the vaccine,” Geller said. “I think after a fairly slow rollout, which is to be expected from the start and stop, we’ve done very well. Our problem here is twofold: No. 1 expectations and No. 2 lack of vaccine.”