Seminole County wins fight with state over vaccines, emergency manager says

County thanks houses of worship for help with vaccine distribution

Seminole County Emergency Management leaders said their mobile point of distribution (POD) is headed to 18 sites over the next two and a half weeks as crews will administer the COVID-19 vaccine. (WKMG)

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Starting this week, Seminole County will begin receiving 3,900 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine per week, which is more than double its previous allotment, according to the county’s emergency manager Alan Harris.

“It was a fight Seminole County had with the state, and when the fight was over, it was determined that they had calculated us wrong,” Harris said. “So they were giving us less doses than the rest of the counties allocation per capita, so they corrected it this week and that’s why we’re getting double the doses.”

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Previously, Seminole County was receiving 1,900 vaccine doses per week, according to Harris.

“Lots of fighting. But then they finally told us that they were looking at individuals that are 65 and older by population and they had transposed a number in Seminole County,” Harris explained.

Despite the state acknowledging its mistake, Seminole County will not see a retroactive number of correct doses for the previous distributions, at least not for the time being.

“They have fixed the issue, they have not retroactively fixed the issue. Hopefully, that will take place,” Harris said. “We’re not going to stop that fight either. We did not win that fight this time.”

The news came Monday morning at a media briefing at East Coast Believers Church in Oviedo, which is working with the county to act as a vaccine distribution site. Second doses were being distributed as county and church leaders provided their updates.

Harris began the event by thanking the church leaders who are working with the county to get their communities vaccinated. The churches are being used as mobile vaccine pods to help seniors in hard-to-reach communities.

“Our faith-based leaders know the community. They’re in the community and they help us to serve the segments of the community that sometimes it’s hard for government to get into. This church along with multiple other churches are helping us to reach low and fixed-income communities,” Harris said.

Harris said the corrected number of vaccine doses will help with mobile distribution sites, like those set up at houses of worship.

“At the end of last week we were not going to do any more mobile events,” Harris said. “But now we are actually out today, my team is out, at a Hindu temple, at a Baptist church and another church, looking at mobile sites that we are going to be scheduling next week because of those new doses, so we’re really excited about that opportunity.”

Donna Walsh from the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County added that the county plans to expand its mobile vaccination efforts into more rural parts of the county where there may not be a church or community center available.

“So we will continue to expand our efforts to reach everybody in Seminole County who would like a vaccine, so that everybody has that opportunity,” Walsh said.

News 6 has contacted the governor’s office for a response on the miscalculated allotment of vaccine doses for Seminole County. This story will be updated when the state offers a statement.

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