Tampa Bay counties work to establish plans for COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Local News

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Communities across the nation are putting together their plans to put an end to the pandemic. The biggest struggle right now is that there is not enough of the COVID-19 vaccine rolled out and at the pace we’re going, it could take 10 years to vaccinate enough Americans to get the pandemic under control.

Before the general senior population can start getting the COVID-19 vaccine, health care workers need to be inoculated.

The Trump administration was hoping to get 20 million people vaccinated by the end of the year and while almost that many doses have gone out, only two million people received their first shot in the first two weeks. In Florida, that’s only 146,000 people.

Governor Ron DeSantis said Tuesday night the state is set to get 127,000 Moderna vaccine doses this week. With this slow roll-out, health experts say it’s up to us to continue to keep that curve as low as possible.

“The modeling behavior is not just getting the shot, it’s wearing the damn mask it’s socially distancing and it’s telling people to do the same thing,” said Dr. Jay Wolfson, a senior associate dean for Health Policy and Practice at the USF Morsani College of Medicine.

Health officials’ biggest concern right now is what COVID-19 will do after the holiday season. More sickness, more death, a bigger strain on our health care system, and our health care providers burning out and getting sick.

The plan is that there is no plan as of right now — but it is something Hillsborough and Pasco County health officials are trying to figure out.

It’s hard to focus on details when you don’t know how many vaccines will be available to people.

Hillsborough County health officials are asking people to be patient seeing as the distribution plan depends on vaccine supplies that come down from the federal government to the states, and finally the counties.

This is frustrating for many in Pinellas County. A woman reached out to 8 On Your Side after getting the government run-around when she tried to find out about getting the vaccine.

“I sat there on hold for like 30 minutes on hold, only to get another customer service rep, who again said we understand the issue but we don’t have any information to give you,” said Carole Henderson of Pinellas County.

Over in Pasco County, a health official tells 8 On Your Side there is no list, no line, and no place to register for people 65 years and older looking to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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