TAMPA, Fla. - Hillsborough County leaders were finalizing plans Wednesday for its next round of COVID-19 vaccinations, after running into a series of issues the first two weeks.
As of early Wednesday evening, a spokesperson for the county said the number of doses should remain in the area of 9,000, which is consistent with the amount distributed during the last two weeks.
During a late-afternoon virtual news conference over Facebook Live, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor addressed what she sees as the biggest problem.
"The issue is not the administration of the vaccine. It's being able to get the vaccine," Castor said. "The state doesn't know what they're getting. So that's one of the things that I look for dramatic improvement on."
Hillsborough Commissioner Harry Cohen explained further.
"It has been bumpy. It has been rough," Cohen told FOX 13. "It has been bumpy primarily for two reasons. One, because the amount of vaccine that's been available has been much less than the demand and also because the government has been charged with doing this. Hillsborough County really doesn't have experience in this type of activity. It was a very, very difficult and complicated thing to ramp up quickly."
USF Health, meanwhile, has paused its vaccine distribution for now.
"We have enough for people who have already gotten the first dose to get the second dose," said Dr. Michael Teng, who said communication from the state and federal government has been a big issue. "Kind of a lack of transparency all the way up and down the chain where people don't know where they're going to get the next allotment of the vaccine. It's hard to schedule people if you don't know when your shipment is going to come in."
Dr. Teng expects some of the distribution issues to be addressed when more types of COVID-19 vaccines are approved by the FDA. He said two more are close to the final approval stages, which could happen in the coming weeks or months.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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