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Palm Beach County health director tells county commissioners error led to COVID-19 vaccines landing in town of Palm Beach

Dr. Alina Alonso says she accept 'full responsibility' for mistake
Posted at 3:44 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 16:15:08-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County's top health official told county commissioners on Tuesday an error led to 1,000 COVID-19 vaccines going to one of America's wealthiest zip codes.

Addressing the county commission, Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County, said she accepted "full responsibility" for the mistake.

Contact 5 reported Monday that a "miscommunication" among health department staff led to the town of Palm Beach receiving 1,000 COVID-19 vaccines.

"We gave it out too soon before we realized we didn't have enough vaccine to give everybody," Alonso told commissioners on Tuesday.

The health department sent the vaccines to the town's fire rescue department to vaccinate residents 65 and older.

According to Dr. Alonso, over 100,000 seniors 65 and older are on a wait list to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Palm Beach County.

Alonso told commissioners that after meeting with staff to strategize the vaccine distribution, "we made the decision we did not have enough vaccine to give to [Palm Beach] fire rescue."

"I was not able to communicate that prior to my staff giving it out," Alonso said.

Alonso told commissioners the county health department received an additional 4,000 vaccines on Monday and hoped to receive 4,000 more every week moving forward. She blamed the lack of vaccines on a supply issue.

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