COVID-19 vaccine site sits idle in Palm Beach County

Commissioner says county just needs more vaccine
Posted at 11:23 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 23:23:42-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A COVID-19 vaccine center that's been in the works for more than a month at the South Florida Fairgrounds sits empty.

"We were approached by the county maybe about a month or so ago," Vicky Chouris said. "They said they were in need of a place to have a drive-in vaccine location."

Chouris is the president and CEO of the South Florida Fairgrounds. She said she told them the fairgrounds has space, so let's build it.

"We really didn't hesitate to say yes, because that's something that we as an organization, that's our goal," she said. "Our mission is to help our community."

Chouris said the county started setting up the tent about the second week in January.

"Once they get it up and running, they plan to utilize it seven days a week," she said.

But here's the problem. Palm Beach County Commissioner Gregg Weiss said the station isn't going to open until they secure the needed doses.


Weiss said the county was getting about 4,000 to 4,500 vials in the beginning, but that changed in recent weeks after the governor's Jan. 19 announcement that Publix would offer the vaccine.

"Up to this point, we've worked with Publix in median-sized counties with high senior populations," DeSantis said at the time. "This is the first really large county that we're doing with a high senior population."

Weiss said the new set-up at the fairgrounds could help 7,000 people daily. He's a bit optimistic, considering the state's receiving more than 300,000 vaccine vials this week through the federal government.

Chouris said the site could provide critical access.

"They picked this location because it's central and it serves all the residents in Palm Beach County," she said.

Weiss said commissioners will find out Tuesday about the county's stockpile of vaccines and if and when the site will open.