According to a tweet by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the Orlando VA Medical Center will begin administering the COVID 19 vaccine to Orlando veterans age 75 or older this weekend.
Vaccines will be available by appointment or walk-in to vets enrolled and eligible for VA health care benefits.
Additional details here 👇 pic.twitter.com/o6S1ABJpyW
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) January 7, 2021
The Orlando VA announced that they had received the vaccine almost a month ago on December 14th.
COVID-19 vaccine arrived today. Our teams have been planning for this important vaccine and began vaccinating health care personnel and long-term care inpatients, in accordance with CDC guidelines, this afternoon. To learn more, please visit https://t.co/ujmCJXkmH9 pic.twitter.com/RPQs1m15Ni
— OVAHCS (@OVAHCS) December 14, 2020
We have a serious problem with the deployment of this life saving vaccine to our veterans in my hometown of Orlando.
Why did it take almost a month to begin administering this vaccine to our veterans?
Why is the age threshold 75+, when many other agencies and guidance by health officials recommend a 65+ requirement?
Why isn’t the Orlando VA using their own social media channels to notify all veterans of their progress on a more regular basis?
Why do they have 1,000 doses but only 225 registered to get vaccinated 30 days after receiving the drug (story HERE)?
They had to vaccinate themselves of course. And they did the media availability to look proactive last month, but the progress here is disturbing.
The problem with the Orlando VA is the same problem we’ve always had with this organization. And that is transparency. Decisions are made behind closed doors by administrators we’ve never heard of over how they will provide care for us.
You might ask “Why don’t you talk to your member of Congress?”.
Because the VA removed their offices from their facility (story HERE). They now have to use a folding table in the hallway of a state of the art facility once a month.
The Florida VA also currently has no Executive Director. The last holder of the office ran for another elected post and won, abandoning the position (link HERE).
The Orlando VA Medical Center at Lake Nona should make all of their vaccination information available to the public.
This is the only way to win over the trust of a community where so many veterans need help and are left with little to no information of how to get that help.
Update: After Orlando VA clinic began, they sent out the tweet below, which lowered the age threshold and also shortened the clinic to 330. These notices are also meant for older veterans. There may be many vets over the age of 65 who are not on Twitter.