Key Biscayne Firefighter Manny Devesa, left, receives COVID-19 vaccination from City of Miami fire-rescue officer, Jan 4, 2021. Eleven Village first responders have received the vaccine so far as officials work on a local distribution plan (Village of Key Biscayne Fire-Rescue via KBI)
. The difficulty in administering the vaccine is not limited to Key Biscayne, as other states and localities have reported many problems in getting doses to seniors and other high-risk groups.
Eleven fire-rescue employees have been vaccinated, said Fire Chief Eric Lang, who is leading Key Biscayne’s distribution planning. He said the Village is coordinating the best it can with the Florida Department of Health, which is the lead agency in Florida. Lang said plans are being made to also get vaccines to police and other at-risk Village employees.
“The vaccines are being distributed top-down from the state,” he said. “From the mayor to the manager to myself, everyone is working every angle to have a solution as fast as we can.”
The Pfizer vaccine requires super-cold storage (minus 70 degrees Celsius) and trained personnel, greatly complicating logistics, said Melissa McCaughan White, the executive director of the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, which is assisting with the vaccine planning. The Foundation has been helping the Village with much of the pandemic response.
“I expect in two weeks we will have a different landscape,” she said, saying the goal is to have a local plan aimed at senior citizens that will also provide transportation if needed, she said.
In the interim, the Village and the Foundation will be sending out information on how seniors and other key groups can use sign-up at hospitals.
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.