Today’s entry: Do you have insights on why the town of Palm Beach has received vaccines and will receive their second allotment of vaccines by January 11th? Meanwhile, the rest of the county has one overloaded phone number to call, and we can't get through to make appointments. Someone must have made the decision of preferential treatment for this town over others. Since the CDC and others have highlighted that communities of color are at the highest risk, I don't understand. Of course, there is the obvious reason that someone is helping out the rich. Why the town of Palm Beach would get these much-needed vaccinations over towns like Riviera Beach or migrant worker communities is quite upsetting.
Bottom Line: As is often the case in matters such as these, there’s much more to the story than meets the eye. And for those who are upset that their communities didn’t begin to receive doses sooner, they should look no further than the leadership in their own municipalities. To the extent one would want to assign blame, that’s where the blame rests in reality. Why? There are two ways with which vaccine doses have been distributed – through the state and through the federal government.
First, the state of Florida has distributed the vaccine doses as they’ve arrived. Vaccine doses allocated to medical facilities that have completed the certification process with the Florida Shots program. That process ensures only proven and capable medical facilities obtain doses of the vaccines. Second, the Federal Government has distributed vaccine doses to service providers via Operation Warp Speed. Vaccine doses allocated to county Health Departments in addition to CVS and Walgreens locations.
So, there’s no inherent bias within the initial distribution of these vaccines. Why would then the town of Palm Beach receiving vaccine doses ahead of many other municipalities? It comes down to planning and leadership. Local health departments have been working with local governments on distribution through planning processes. Specifically, in the case of Palm Beach County, they’ve begun distribution of vaccines to local governments who’ve presented accredited plans for their communities.
The Town of Palm Beach was among the first to complete this process as they provided for a closed point of distribution using Palm Beach Fire Rescue paramedics. As a result, the town received an initial shipment of 1,000 vaccine doses, or approximately 5% of the County’s initial supply, to the Town of Palm Beach.
It would be wrong, and frankly outrageous, for any Health Department to hold onto vaccines that could benefit residents today until specific local governments could get their act and a plan together. There is nothing that prevented Riveria Beach, or any other local government, from creating and executing a plan as Palm Beach did.
There’s no evidence of preferential treatment based on socioeconomic status by the federal government, the Florida Department of Health, or county Health Departments with the initial distributions of vaccine doses.
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