Vaccine

The slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Monroe County continues.

MONROE COUNTY — The Florida Department of Health on Friday had still not set up a website or phone line for Florida Keys residents to make appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations, as local health department officials had yet to be given an exact date for the next round of vaccine allocations.

The local offices of the health department ran out of the first doses of the Moderna vaccinations on Saturday, Jan. 9, and did not receive any doses this week.

Bob Eadie, who oversees the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County, said Friday that 100 more doses were being shipped and should arrive by the middle of next week. He also said he expected the local health department to receive 1,300 doses of the second round of Modera vaccinations around Feb. 1.

The state’s website and phone number for Keys residents wanting to set up an appointment for a vaccinations recently crashed but was supposed to be up and running as of Friday; however, it wasn’t because there was no date for the arrival of the vaccinations, local health department spokeswoman Alison Kerr said.

The health department should still have the names and contact information of people who initially signed up, but Kerr did encourage people to again sign up when the new website and telephone number are established.

Currently, healthcare professionals and people 65 years and older are eligible to receive vaccinations, and snowbirds are eligible, Kerr said.

The gated Ocean Reef Club in north Key Largo and the three Keys hospitals have also be given doses and are administering them.

Lower Keys Medical Center in Key West has received 300 doses and vaccinated staff and medical staff with that allotment, but hospital representatives do not know exactly when another allotment will come.

“We have requested an additional 100 doses based upon staff and medical staff interest,” Lower Keys CEO David Clay said in a prepared statement on Friday. “We do not know if or when we will receive additional vaccines. We do anticipate the second dose for our initial 300 colleagues to be received within the identified time frame but do not have an exact date.”

Monroe County Mayor Michelle Coldiron said she is “frustrated like everyone else” about the pace of Keys residents being vaccinated but remained optimistic, saying, “we will figure this out.”

“We don’t have the answers and it is making us crazy,” Coldiron said.

As of Friday, 4,884 people had contracted the virus in Monroe County. There were 32 new reported cases on Thursday and 65 new cases reported on Friday and one more death in Monroe County, according to the state health department. The deceased was a 85-year-old female resident who had underlying health conditions.

As of Friday, 37 Keys residents have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in March.

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