Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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The Villages

Lake County chairman admits residents unhappy with vaccine process  

Sean Parks

As many of you know, the Florida Department of Health in Lake County (DOH-Lake) is the authority responsible for administering their immunization plan in Lake County, which is part of the state’s COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Plan. During this phase of immunization distribution, DOH-Lake will support the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) and the state plan by providing vaccines on a first come, first served basis.
During the first round of distribution, many residents expressed dissatisfaction with the process. While the Florida Department of Health is the governing authority commanding DOH-Lake’s operations, we want you to know your county commissioners are listening to your concerns and understand that there is a lot of anxiety and frustration centered around immunization. Unfortunately, the challenges we are experiencing with distributing the vaccine extend statewide and across the country. However, it is imperative that we give our seniors a better experience. We will continue to escalate your concerns and offer our resources to support DOH-Lake’s efforts.
I want to remind everyone that the State of Florida Vaccination Plan is a long-term, multi-faceted approach to immunization that will require a whole community effort. There are several options for appointment-based immunization on the horizon. Local hospitals have already begun offering immunizations to frontline and community healthcare workers and will soon open vaccination opportunities to those 65 and older. Walgreens and CVS will facilitate safe immunizations of long-term care facilities. The state in partnership with Publix has launched a pilot program in nearby counties to start offering vaccinations to seniors. We expect more immunization opportunities to become available soon. Finally, DOH-Lake has communicated plans to offer scheduled appointments in a future phase of their distribution. Because this is a whole community effort, we want to encourage you to do your part by continuing to social distance when possible and wear face-coverings as vaccine distribution progresses.
Throughout its duration, the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with many challenges. Our residents, businesses, and community partners have demonstrated resilience and unity through every turn. I continue to be inspired by the strength our community. We will get through this together.

Sean Parks is the chairman of the Lake County Commission.

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