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The Villages

Global Medical Response PR rep declines to answer questions about status of vaccines

Travis Small

A public relations representative for Global Medical Response declined Tuesday to answer questions about the status of COVID-19 vaccines in The Villages.

Travis Small, a senior vice president with Slowey McManus Communications, contacted by email.

Given your ongoing coverage, on behalf of GMR, we wanted to make sure you had the latest statement and a link to FAQs,” he wrote in the email. 

The information he provided to has already been widely circulated since Global Medical Response ran out of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday and abruptly took down the white tents at its makeshift vaccination site in a field near Buffalo Ridge Plaza in The Villages. (You can read Small’s link HERE.)

He did not respond to a question from asking when and where a vaccination site in The Villages might be re-established when more vaccine becomes available.

Villagers contend they have been left high and dry thanks to Global Medical Response’s sudden departure from The Villages.

The dismantled Global Medical Response COVID-19 vaccination site near Buffalo Ridge Plaza has left many Villagers with canceled appointments frustrated and angry.

Village of Pine Ridge resident Sue McMahon and her husband were lucky enough to get a shot on Friday at the Global Medical Response site before the supply of vaccine was exhausted. But what happens next?

“This will be a total disaster if we cannot get our second vaccination,” she said. “How can we ever hope to vaccinate everyone and stop this virus if people can never get the full dosages to protect them?”

Village of Lake Deaton resident Ken Sagal is in the same boat, waiting for a second shot.

“Pulling up stakes and leaving the area with no notice seems very, very irresponsible,” he said.

Sagal said he has “no idea” where he and his wife will get the second shot.

“My wife has had open heart surgery and am very worried about her condition,” he said.

Villager Ron Smiley and his wife showed up Sunday morning at the Global Medical Response site for their vaccinations.

“We saw an electronic billboard that read, ‘This site temporarily closed.’ We saw a police officer and asked him what was going on. He told us, ‘They ran out of vaccine,’” he said.

Smiley isn’t blaming Global Medical Response for the vaccine shortage. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis, flanked by maskless Villages Vice President of Community Relations Gary Lester, talks about Florida’s plan to prioritize vaccinations for those 65 and older during a stop last week in The Villages.

“I don’t care what your political affiliation is but this proves, to me, we have no real leadership in D.C., or in Florida. I understand Gov. DeSantis was in Texas last Thursday, touting how well he has handled this pandemic, to a conservative group. It’s time we start electing people who accept personal responsibility for their failures and that we stop lying to ourselves, that these people are leaders, because they aren’t,” Smiley said.

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