WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — In a County Commission meeting Tuesday, Dr. Alina Alonso confirmed that Publix will soon be the sole distributor of COVID-19 vaccines in Palm Beach County.
The County Health Director tells CBS12 News that the governor chose Palm Beach County as a 'test site' for the pilot program where all vaccines will be funneled through Publix.
The County is still administering vaccines to those who have scheduled appointments through the Health Department, but Alonso predicts that the county will run out of those supplies in early February. At that point, COVID-19 vaccines will be funneled directly from the State to Publix, effectively cutting out Palm Beach County's role in distribution altogether.
When asked if she protested this pilot program at all, Alonso said that she "applauds" Publix for stepping up as a partner, but acknowledged that the county could be doing more if more vaccine were allocated directly to county officials.
"We just want to in addition to Publix to set up mass distribution sites in addition to Publix," Dr. Alonso said. "It's the same thing with testing. We have the most sites, probably more than in any other County and we want to do the same thing with vaccinations. "
About 8.7 percent of the population in Palm Beach County has currently been vaccinated. Last week, about 22,000 doses were administered, but Bill Johnson, the County's Director of Emergency Management says that Palm Beach County has the infrastructure to administer up to 75,000 doses every week.
In a presentation Tuesday, Johnson said the County has mass vaccination sites readily available, and fire departments, hospitals, etc. ready to administer more doses.
Commissioners are planning to write a letter to DeSantis asking him to reconsider this exclusive partnership with Publix and allocate more doses to Palm Beach County for distribution.