For 445 days and counting, the Florida Division of Emergency Management has been going to war against the coronavirus.
The team has a new director. Kevin Guthrie is now in charge.
Guthrie was Jared Moskowitz’s right-hand man for the past two years. Moskowitz stepped down to spend more time with family, so Guthrie was tapped to step up and assume the role.
Channel 9′s Alexa Lorenzo sat down one on one with him to get caught up.
First question: Where are we now when it comes to vaccination efforts?
“We got 10 million individuals vaccinated now in the state of Florida, which is not quite half the population, but we’re getting really close to it,” Guthrie said.
While that is a big milestone, demand for the shot is dropping, and the federal vaccination sites have closed.
So what’s the plan?
“As we continue to see the future of vaccinations, I think you’re going to see a multi-layered approach,” Guthrie said.
He said counties will take over, and they will work to get vaccines into local doctors’ offices, hospitals and community health centers, where people would normally get any vaccine.
“You’ll see much more of a local look on a day-to-day basis in the future, probably in the near future,” Guthrie said. “But again, that that is coming.”
The state said it will continue to take around busses for mobile one-day pop-up sites, making it convenient for people to get the shot.
“If we get five people, 13 people, 20 people, whatever that might be, that’s 13 or 20 people we didn’t have before,” Guthrie said.
While demand has dropped, supply has skyrocketed, and the state is not sending vials out on a regular basis anymore like they were before.
That means counties, hospitals and health centers now request the supply they need, and the state sends it to them.
“I’m certainly very, very happy with where we’re at,” Guthrie said.
But what’s the biggest challenge Guthrie and his team are facing as it relates to the coronavirus response?
“Vaccine hesitancy, vaccine education,” he said, “but I think that’s going to be an ongoing battle.”
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