Health officials: Alachua County leads state COVID vaccination effort, VA expects fewer doses

Local health officials give an update on the massive inoculation effort while the Director of the local VA reveals they are expecting a reduction in doses
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 11:43 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Elected officials with Alachua County and the city of Gainesville hosted a COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall on Monday. Paul Myers, the Administrator for the Department of Health in Alachua County, said they are making progress and are among the leaders in the state when it comes to administering the vaccine.

“Alachua county is in the top 3 in the state of Florida in the percentage of the county population with at least one dose. Also, in the top 3 in per capita of vaccinations, and I think the key to our progress certainly is the collaboration of our health system partners.”

According to Myers, more than 7,500 county residents have completed the vaccination series. UF Health is playing a significant role in vaccinating those eligible, as laid out in the governor’s order.

“UF Health has now given here in Gainesville a little over 27,000 vaccines, kind of split between the Pfizer vaccines with almost 18,000 and about 10,000 of the Moderna. The majority of vaccines over the past three weeks have been to patients over the age of 65. There are currently about 12,000 appointments scheduled for Gainesville to continue,” said UF Health President Dr. David Nelson.

The other primary health care provider in the area has begun administering the second dose of the vaccine.

“North Florida Regional has vaccinated more than 3,000 physicians, nurses, and community health care workers,” said Eric Lawson, North Florida Regional Medical Center CEO. “We’ve exhausted our first dose vaccines received from the state. We are now well into our second shot clinics. In our next phase, we will be partnering with the Department of Health to vaccinate our highest risked senior patients.”

The VA Medical Center in north Florida and south Georgia has administered nearly 12,600 first doses of the vaccine along with almost 1,800 second doses. As they look forward to more shipments, they will see fewer vaccines coming in.

“We have administered all of our present dose of the first supply, and we are currently awaiting our next allocation. Unfortunately, the VA’s allocation has been reduced, and we are currently expecting a weekly allocation of approximately 1,300 doses between Pfizer and Moderna,” said Tom Wisnieski, the Director of the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System.

Myers said the department of health is making its way down the age list.

“Right now, you will see we are calling individuals between the ages of 75 and 80.”

If you miss your call, you will not be placed in the back of the line. To find out more about the vaccine in Alachua County and what ages the county is calling back to schedule an appointment, click here.

To find out more about COVID-19 vaccines in other North-Central Florida counties, click here.

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