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Mayors In Broward Want To Get More COVID-19 Vaccines Into Arms Faster

Image: VA VAntage Point blog
Image: VA VAntage Point blog

To date, more than 53,000 people in Broward County have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and some 9,000 have received their second dose, according to the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.

Mayors in Broward County want to know what they can do to get more vaccines sent to them from the state and get the shots into more arms.

On a conference call with county leaders Thursday, a few mayors asked about setting up their own vaccination sites in their cities.

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County Mayor Steve Geller told them they can request one — but they’ll need to offer other resources, too.

"If a city is able to provide the traffic control, the people to administer it, the security — I believe that, at least for now that, we will be able to get the state to agree to set up those local facilities," Geller said.

He said he anticipates the city of Hollywood getting a vaccination site soon.

The director of the Florida Department of Health in Broward County, Dr. Paula Thaqi, was also on the call.

She acknowledged that crashes of the county’s appointment website have slowed the vaccine rollout.

"We do appreciate everybody's patience ... it has not gone as smoothly as we had intended, traffic and otherwise," Thaqi said. "It's a consequence to the glitch in the appointment system, but again, we are serving seniors."

Thaqi said the county is working to onboard to a state-contracted system for appointments but she did not give a time frame.

Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardin asked if the county could be doing more.

"I'm seriously questioning, do we have vaccine available, if we could step up another 5,000 shots a day in Broward County — is it available?" Hardin asked.

"Yes," Geller said. "In fact the county is working with the Florida Department of Health right now to do a significant expansion ... however, since it's in the very early stages I hope to have this by next week."

The availability of adult ICU beds in Broward County hospitals hovers just under 16%, according to the county's dashboard that it aggregates from the health department. The past week's percent positivity in tests averages 8.9%.