As schools continue to struggle to find their footing in the 10th month of the global pandemic, Florida begins to roll out plans that may be promising.
On Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the state has registered over 400,000 seniors in the last week who have received the COVID-19 vaccination shot. According to DeSantis, 700,000 total seniors have been vaccinated for the virus.
The state has prioritized vaccination centers being accessible for the senior community.
“Every single county now has at least one place where [seniors] can go. Some have many different places. We think that that’s important.” DeSantis said at a news conference. Vaccinations are being administered at some hospitals, churches and Publix grocery stores.
As schools begin to ramp back up for in-person instruction, Florida continues to pride itself in providing for those who are most at risk — people who are 65 years old and older. Central vaccination locations have been set up with seniors in mind, many within a few miles radius.
A local Black church could be considered to have a ripple effect of vaccinating those most affected who are from underserved communities. Over 500 African American seniors were able to receive their first dose of the vaccination at Bethel AME church last weekend.
This week Florida State University has confirmed it will be administering the vaccine and that the eligibility list has expanded. The vaccine will be administered at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in two doses. Unlike Bethel AME church, FSU offers the vaccination by appointment only.
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare has also worked to vaccinate Leon County residents. TMH has partnered with the Leon County Department of Health to distribute 6,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Leon County seniors age 65 and up.
Despite vaccination efforts, the number of total cases in Leon County has surpassed 20,000, according to the Florida Department of Health. Florida reached an all-time high of new cases on Jan. 8, weighing in at 19,530 across the state.
Locally, out of 9 Leon County Schools, each one has at least one COVID-19 case, others have more. As the COVID-19 vaccine begins to gain traction in both Leon County and the state of Florida, many long-term care facilities and healthcare workers have yet to be inoculated. As seniors crowd centers in preparation to receive the injection, many are now being turned away without being rescheduled due to a shortage in supply of vaccinations.