MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) – One week ago, Manatee County Government announced the early closure of its downtown administration building following a deadly COVID-19 outbreak.
Two employees died after contracting the virus; three others were hospitalized. County Administrator Dr. Scott Hopes said none of the employees impacted were vaccinated. All five worked in the county’s IT department.
The county held a drive-thru and walk-up vaccine clinic this Friday. It was open to county employees, their families, and the public. Within a three-hour period, 74 people were inoculated.
“With this event and with the unfortunate tragedies that we experienced, we now have clear and convincing evidence that these vaccinations at work and they protect people’s health, safety, and lives,” said Dr. Hopes.
County employees told 8 On Your Side why they decided it was time to get vaccinated.
“I decided to get vaccinated for protection for myself, my family, and also the people that I work with and I’m around on a daily basis. I drive paratransit for Manatee County and we have some awesome people that I really want to protect,” said Patricia Beach.
County employee Angela Posani said she and her husband saw the opportunity and took it.
Last week’s deadly outbreak hit close to home for countless employees in the downtown administration building.
“It was really sad seeing that happen. They were really wonderful people and I didn’t have too much contact with them, but still and it is not worth risking with the kids and we have a family,” said Posani.
Director of Public Safety Jacob Saur says the county might host another similar clinic in the future.
“We are impressed with the turnout we are seeing so far this morning,” said Saur about one hour into the clinic.
Hopes was also pleased to see a steady flow of cars moving through the clinic.
“What it tells me is that, people are now getting the message,” said Dr. Hopes.