The chairman of the Amenity Authority Committee on Wednesday called for the mobilization of resources in The Villages to get the COVID-19 vaccine to residents.
AAC Chairman Don Deakin laid out a plan before his fellow AAC members during the monthly meeting at Savannah Center. However, his plan met with a cool reception.
His plan included four steps:
1. To offer to coordinate the creation of a task force within the jurisdiction of the AAC in the tri-county areas of Lake, Sumter and Marion counties to include county commissioners, health officials, the Developer, Villages staff and volunteers.
2. To offer resources within The Villages to the county commissions and health departments, including regional recreation centers as vaccination sites.
3. Recruitment of resident volunteers to process online registrations, notify residents of appointments, coordinate traffic and parking at vaccination sites and to screen residents arriving for appointments.
4. To offer communications assistance to the counties.
“We need to take a leadership role and be strong in trying to address our residents’ concerns. There might be some things we could do,” Deakin said.
He added that the leadership of the AAC, which oversees amenities north of County Road 466, might inspire similar action by the Project Wide Advisory Committee, which oversees amenities south of County Road 466.
District Manager Richard Baier said the offer for the use of recreation centers and parking lots for vaccination sites has already been made. He said vaccinations are a county health department responsibility.
“Mr. Baier has already taken the necessary steps,” said AAC member Ann Forrester. “We should stick with what the professionals are already doing.”
AAC member Carl Bell said he was “reluctant” to have a board charged with overseeing amenities get involved in a public health issue.
“We should stay out of it,” Bell said.
Others pointed to positive signs, such as Publix’s announcement it would begin offering the vaccine at 11 pharmacies in Marion County.
However, Deakin pointed that the announcement excluded the Publix at Mulberry Grove Plaza, the lone Publix store in the Marion County section of The Villages.
Judy Biebesheimer, a 24-year resident of The Villages, said for many years flu vaccines were coordinated by the District and offered by VaxCare at recreation centers.
“Can’t something like that be done so we don’t panic and stand out in a line for hours for the Coronavirus shot?” she asked.