By STEPHEN FLANAGAN JACKSON
The Hillsborough County Commissioners are grappling with several problems dealing with administering the initial round of covid 19 vaccinations. According to the Florida Health Department, On Site Safe, the vendor originally in charge of setting up the appointments and giving the shots for seniors in Hillsborough County, has been fired.
In a rocky start earlier in January the first round of covid-19 vaccines were provided to seniors . The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County now has planned to resume vaccinating seniors ages 65 and older on Jan. 13, Wednesday. Vaccines will be administered at 3 distribution sites Wednesday through Friday, according to a news release.
Hillsborough County residents 65 years and older must make an appointment to get vaccinated by calling (850) 848-5287 or visiting patientportalfl.com. The registration period started Jan. 12 and ends once slots run out.
Currently, the vaccine distribution sites are:
The sites will remain open Wednesday through Friday until all doses have been given.
Hillsborough County’s vaccine rollout got off to a negative start last week with websites crashing, phone lines going down and sites reaching full capacity. The county later suspended its online registration site and told residents to make appointments by phone. It quickly ran out of slots for vaccine appointments.
The vaccine rollout road bumps are expected to be number one at the County Commissioner’s Jan. 21 meeting. Commissioners have indicated the need for a more comprehensive plan to provide the vaccine to Hillsborough County’s 206,000 seniors 65 years and older. There are 1.4 million people in Hillsborough County. The monumental challenges going forward are to coordinate so that as many as possible have the opportunity for vaccination and if and when enough vaccine doses are available. Also to be discussed are the use of vaccination sites such as churches, physician offices, hospitals, clinics, community centers, and pharmacies.