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Palm Beach County’s Health Director Says Vaccine Process May Take Over A Year

Dr.Alina Alonso screen shot from Palm Beach County commission meeting. December 15, 2020
Dr.Alina Alonso screen shot from Palm Beach County commission meeting. December 15, 2020

There’s some good news on the healthcare front in Palm Beach County. Despite a rise of cases and deaths in the elderly population, the COVID positivity rate is down significantly.

Speaking at a commission meeting Tuesday, Dr. Alina Alonso — the county's health director — said the 5% daily positivity rate is the lowest it's been for about 3 weeks.

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Alonso also said the COVID-19 vaccination process may take more than a year.

“The vaccine says it will protect you from severe disease. You might still get the virus but in a milder form," Alonso said. "So, you still have to wear your mask if you get vaccinated. You still have to maintain your distance. You still have to do all of these things until we have population herd immunity — which means, 70 percent of the population has either gotten the disease and been vaccinated."

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay asked Alonso about why the four hospitals in Palm Beach County, with vaccine freezing capacity, weren't included in the list for the first vaccine batch.

Alonso said the five Florida hospitals that were chosen were bigger teaching hospitals.

"I wasn’t there and I can’t tell you how they were chosen. But the list went up and the feds made that final decision of who these hospitals are going to be," Alonso said. "So I wasn’t involved in that and I don’t want to guess how they think because I’ve never thought like a politician, so I can’t help you."

Alonso said the vaccines and results are completely free to everybody, and that they won’t be available to the general public until around April 2021.

Wilkine Brutus is the Palm Beach County Reporter for WLRN. The award-winning journalist produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs. Contact Wilkine at wbrutus@wlrnnews.org
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