Osceola County could handle more COVID-19 vaccines than state providing, officials say

VIDEO: Osceola County could handle more COVID-19 vaccines than state providing, officials say

Data shows that vaccines still aren’t getting to the right places.

Counties like Osceola said they could handle more now but don’t have it, even though the state already has so much it hasn’t handed out.

The Osceola County Health Department is trying to make sure registered residents 65 years old and up know where the vaccine will be available next.

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Right now, that won’t be until Monday at the St. Rosa Lima Catholic Church. Appointments are already booked.

But what Osceola County gets hasn’t been enough, according to Commissioner Vivianna Janer.

In a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis, she accused him of playing politics, citing the new distribution of 12,600 doses to similarly sized Lake County last Tuesday, which is quadruple the amount Osceola County had.

She questioned why the state isn’t sending more to Osceola County when it’s not even using everything it has right now.

About 769,000 people have received the vaccine here in Florida, which is only 46% of all the doses distributed to the state so far.

“I think spreading out the locations where you can vaccinate can be helpful,” said Cindy Prins, University of Florida health epidemiologist.

Getting the vaccine to more of the right places will be especially necessary as the second doses that had been held back are now being released. That’s about 1.2 million doses for Florida.

Prins said Florida could learn something from states like West Virginia, where they’ve vaccinated almost double the amount of people per capita, using 73% of the doses they’ve been given.

“My understanding is they seem to be doing this a little bit more flexibly,” Prins said.

Osceola County’s Commission has moved forward with buying freezers so the department can also offer the super-cold Pfizer vaccine.

The county has also added additional phone lines and is restructuring its registration process.

WFTV is committed to bringing you the most accurate information about the coronavirus pandemic in Central Florida.
WFTV is committed to bringing you the most accurate information about the coronavirus pandemic in Central Florida. (Cindy Kelly)