JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With Duval County giving out nearly twice the number of second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine than first doses despite high demand, Mayor Lenny Curry told News4Jax on Friday he’s got more capacity than supply.
“It’s just going to take time to get it manufactured, get it distributed to all -- to the states and all of the cities and counties,” Curry told Bruce Hamilton on The Morning Show. “When we get it, we are going to get it to you. If we had supplies now, we would vaccinate everyone in this city. We just have to work together, be responsible and, hopefully, by the end of the summer, we have vaccinated everybody.”
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Curry urged people who received their first dose of the vaccine to not waste the opportunity to get the second shot. A small group of people who received their first shots 21 days ago began getting their second doses Friday morning in what the city called a soft launch of people invited to the Mandarin and Lane Wiley senior centers.
“(We) identified people to do a soft launch, which is smart because, again, we are all new at this. What we’ve demonstrated at the city level, whether it be distributing stimulus checks, whether it be testing and now -- vaccine,” Curry said.
Anyone who had their first Pfizer shot at a senior center at least three weeks ago can go back without an appointment, but based on the first letter of their last name.
If you’re still waiting to get a first dose, Curry urges patience. In Duval County, only the state-run site at Regency Square is offering shots. If you are 65 years of age or above or a frontline health care worker and haven’t had a shot, call 1-866-200-3762 to make an appointment or pre-register at MyVaccine.fl.gov/site/Duval.
“I understand the stress of an individual. I understand that if you are a teacher in schools, you want the vaccine now. I understand that if you have an underlying condition, but you are not over the age limit at this moment in time (65), you want it! But it is just a supply issue.”
Asked about access of underserved communities to the vaccine, Curry said the city is committed to opening more sites as soon as there is additional supply.
“If we have additional vaccine supply, which I believe we will, (we’ll) enhance locations, add new locations, easier access for minority communities,” Curry said.
The said the city is talking with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority about how to help people with transportation to vaccination sites if they don’t have access to transportation.”
“If we get additional supply, we will absolutely turn-key operation and begin to open sites in other parts of the city,” Curry said. “We have health care workers that can distribute this. We have the manpower, we have personnel and we have space. We have what we need to get this vaccine to people. We just don’t have the vaccine.
Curry urged people to have perspective on how quickly this has all unfolded.
“I think it is important to reflect on where we’re going back to where this started in March of last year,” he said. “So much uncertainty, we were watching hospital systems, healthcare systems on the verge of collapse in other countries. And nobody really knew what to do.”