Indian River County Seniors Believe Health Department Needs More Help from State, Federal

Indian River County Health Department
Indian River County Health Department

Editorial/Opinion – Misinformation is everywhere about the health department in Indian River County. The same goes for the County Commissioners.

Recently, we had an opportunity to speak with County Commissioners Joe Flescher and Laura Moss. They have expressed concerns and frustrations about the limited number of vaccines available for people 65+. If the county could buy more, they would.

Then, last Monday, we attended the Board of County Commissioners meeting. They wanted a solution to the appointment fallout, so they voted 5-0 to upgrade to a new solution. 

Soon after, and before Sebastian Daily could get an article published about the meeting, rumors circulated on social media and other reports that the county would only allow people age 80 or older to make appointments. None of it was true, just misinformation.

Who should be vaccinated first?

Some seniors say the county should have vaccinated people age 80 or older first, then 70 or older, etc. Others, who are younger with health issues, say they are at high risk and should be vaccinated. Either way, some continue to blame the county.

There was a reason why the county picked ages 65+, and that was before knowing the limited supply of vaccines available. Perhaps the state is asking the counties to take over the burden and deal with the problem. That’s how we see it.

But it’s not the fault of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis either, because the state is receiving the doses from the federal government. I don’t know why this information isn’t getting out to the public.

The county system is flawless after successfully making an appointment to receive the vaccine. It’s so good that people from other counties are rushing here from Miami, West Palm Beach, and other cities. 

The county can’t turn people away for not living in Indian River County since it’s a federal program, and it’s been like medical tourism.

Last Thursday, Florida finally put a limit on vaccines, reserving them for only state residents and out of state visitors (snowbirds) who can prove residency. Most seniors say this should have been the rule from the start.

Indian River County Commission

Blaming Indian River County

We can’t blame the county when there’s only 1,000 doses each week. They are doing all they can, and the new software solution will allow people to get an appointment instead of calling every week.

The federal government just ordered 200 million more doses of COVID-19. So, maybe things will soon get better. 

At this point, it doesn’t matter what age you are. Most people will have to wait to get vaccinated, even if they’re age 80 or older.

We are living in weird times, but it’s not the end of the world. There are better days ahead, and we will get through this.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland, and raised in Jupiter, Florida. He has been a radio and TV personality since the mid-1980s. He has worked for WFLX-TV (Fox 29), WIRK, WLIZ, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and others. In 1994, Andy took a break from broadcasting and was a software and systems engineer for various companies. In 2002, he permanently moved back to Sebastian, where Andy's family has lived for over 45 years. He returned to the broadcasting sector in 2005. Andy joined Sebastian Daily as our editor-in-chief in 2016.