Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Palm Beach County to close three mass vaccinatio­n sites

- By Wells Dusenbury

Palm Beach County will be shutting the door on its three mass vaccinatio­n sites as interest for the vaccine has rapidly waned among young people.

Darcy Davis, CEO of the Palm Beach County Healthcare District, told county commission­ers on Tuesday the three sites will be closed by the end of May. The county will reallocate its resources toward its mobile vaccinatio­n sites in order to directly target people in the community.

The three county-run sites are the South Florida Fairground­s in West Palm Beach, South County Civic Center in Delray Beach and Burns Road Community Center in Palm Beach Gardens.

Those three sites are running at 50% capacity as a result of the decreased numbers.

“As the eligibilit­y expanded, [we thought] that we would see a proportion­ate increase in demand and that did not happen,” Davis said.

On April 5, all people 18 and older became eligible to receive the vaccine, based on an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

While a large portion of Palm Beach County’s senior population received the vaccine, that interest hasn’t translated to younger people in the county.

The Healthcare District opened up 16,000 new appointmen­ts on Tuesday, but has filled only 6,000 of them, Davis said.

Burns Road Community Center will offer first-dose shots though April 22, South County Civic Center through April 24 and South Florida Fairground­s through May 6. The three sites will offer the final seconddose shots on May 13, May 15, and May 27, respective­ly.

In diverting its resources toward the county’s three mobile units, Davis said she thinks they’ll have a better shot at vaccinatin­g “hesitant population­s” by bringing the vaccines directly to them.

Each mobile unit can provide up to 500 shots per day. No appointmen­ts will be necessary with the units.

“It can be a smarter, more targeted approach to get to those communitie­s where we know that they have trust in either their faith leader or medical team,” Davis said. “I think it makes more sense for our team to go to them instead of waiting and trying to campaign for them to come to us.”

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