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Vaccine Equity In Palm Beach County, COVID Long Haulers, Termite Season Nears

publix vaccines.jpg
The Miami Herald
The Publix COVID-19 vaccine program will include 105 stores in Bay, Citrus, Collier, Escambia, Flagler, Hernando, Marion, Okaloosa, St. Johns, Santa Rosa, Volusia and Walton counties

Getting vaccines to the most vulnerable in Palm Beach County. A COVID long hauler explains her continued struggles and how her mother’s lung cancer is shaping her experience. Plus, how the pandemic has helped termites thrive.

On this Tuesday, March 2, episode of Sundial:

Vaccine Equity In Palm Beach County

Gov. Ron DeSantis has faced wide criticism for the state’s vaccine rollout plan.

Seniors and the most vulnerable have been waiting in long lines, spending hours on the phone or online — just to maybe get an appointment.

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These issues run especially deep in Palm Beach County. It’s home to roughly 400,000 seniors. When the COVID-19 vaccine started being rolled out, Publix had near full control over administering the vaccine in the county.

“Under that plan, it would limit access to the vaccine for people who live in underserved rural communities because of major transportation issues,” said WLRN’s Wilkine Brutus. “For communities in those specific areas, it takes from 25 to 108 miles just to get to a nearby Publix. And you have to consider poverty issues as well.”

And data shows minorities there are way behind in receiving the vaccine — 71% of the people who have received the first dose in the county are white, 3.6% are Hispanic and 3% are Black.

In response to these “vaccine deserts,” the state opened a temporary vaccination center last month in Pahokee. There will also be mobile vaccine groups to help distribute in underserved elderly communities.

Vaccine Equity In Palm Beach County
Minnesota has administered about 39% of the vaccine doses it has received. About 1.5% of the state's population has been vaccinated.

COVID Long Haulers

The simple act of breathing has been threatened for millions of Americans by the coronavirus.

Colleen Fitzgerald in Lake Worth contracted the virus back in March and was terribly sick for close to a month. A year later, she still hasn’t fully recovered, regularly finding herself out of breath doing basic daily activities.

“I can just be walking through the grocery store and all of a sudden I can't catch my breath," said Fitzgerald. "It's exhausting ... I think it's just going to take time for my body to heal."

She knows the importance of lung health. Her mother, Linda Fitzgerald, died of Stage 3 lung cancer four years ago.

"If your lungs are not functioning properly, you're not living your best life," she said.

On Saturday she will be climbing 900 stairs at Hard Rock Stadium to raise money for the American Lung Association, as part of the Fight for Air Climb.

COVID Long Haulers

Termite Season Nears

Spring in South Florida means termite season. Termites are capable of eating through the foundations of our homes. Asian Subterranean termites have always been problematic in South Florida and they’ve caused significant damage to our urban tree canopy over the past several decades.

Furthermore, with the recommendation that we avoid letting workers into our homes, it’s possible termites have been eating away at the foundation of our homes over the past year. Thomas Chouvenc is an associate professor at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Resources.

“There’s very little we can do to stop the propagation of the species. What can we do is keep an eye on our trees, keep an eye on our houses and look for early signs of activity. It’s time to make long-term plans for your home and your mortgage,” said Chouvenc on Sundial.

Termite Season Nears
The male Asian subterranean termite (brown abdomen) and the female Formosan subterranean termite (orange abdomen) are surrounded by their hybrid offspring (eggs, larvae, workers, soldiers) in an eight-month-old colony.

The UF Institute has created a mapping tool where you can find termite sightings in your neighborhood.

Chouvenc joined Sundial in 2019 to explain the different types of termites, what to watch out for and how they can be removed. Find that story here.

Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.
Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.