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Palm Beach County commissioner concerned about continued disparities in COVID-19 vaccine rollout

'We have pockets all throughout the county,' Commissioner Robert Weinroth says
vaccine on shelves graphic superimposed over vial
Posted at 4:44 AM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 06:24:46-05

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — A Palm Beach County Commissioner told WPTV he's "upset" that some residents are "being missed for the vaccine" after a Contact 5 report last week found low-income seniors struggling to get vaccinated.

"I want them to know that we hear them. I want them to know that I'm as frustrated as they are," Commissioner Robert Weinroth told Contact 5 in an interview.

Weinroth told Contact 5 he's concerned about the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine throughout Palm Beach County.

Robert Weinroth speaks with Michael Buczyner
Contact 5 investigator Michael Buczyner speaks with Palm Beach County Commissioner Robert Weinroth.

Weinroth spoke out at last week's commission meeting, sharing his concerns with Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County.

"One of my concerns right now is the disparities that have continued to crop up in the rollout," Weinroth told Alonso at the meeting.

SEE ALSO: Coronavirus Coverage

The meeting came just hours after a Contact 5 investigation found a board member of the Delray Beach Housing Authority pleading for vaccines on behalf of its nearly 600 low-income senior residents, some of whom lack access to the internet, computers and reliable transportation.

Housing Authority President Shirley Erazo voiced her concerns with Contact 5 recently, saying she felt their residents were being left behind.

"When they planned, they didn't take into consideration that not all seniors have computers, especially a low-income family, low-income seniors," Erazo told Contact 5.

Shirley Erazo, Delray Beach Housing Authority
Shirley Erazo, president and CEO of the Delray Beach Housing Authority, speaks with Contact 5.

"I'm upset that there are people out there that are being missed for the vaccine," Weinroth said. "We have pockets all throughout the county. Delray (Beach) Housing Authority is just one of them."

Weinroth told Contact 5 he planned "to follow up with our county administrator and determine whether there isn't a way we can get a special task force out there."

After Contact 5 interviewed Weinroth, the county administrator told him the Delray Beach seniors were not overlooked, and there would be more options to help them as the county gets more vaccine.

Those comments echoed what Alonso told Contact 5 in a recent interview that the county needed more vaccine doses to reach these groups.

"We are going to make every attempt to get additional vaccine into our delivery system so that we can go out to them," Weinroth said.

Meanwhile, some seniors are left waiting and wondering when they'll be next in line for the vaccine.

If you or a loved one are trying to get on the COVID-19 vaccine waiting list in Florida, call the state's vaccine hotline at 866-201-6754.

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