COVID-19 Vaccines On The Way

State Sen. Burgess Pushes For East Pasco Locations

By Dave Walters

The COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Florida and as of Tuesday, 289,773 Floridians have received at least their first dose.

Closer to home in Pasco County, 6,685 doses have been administered including through the Florida Department of Health location in New Port Richey. An east Pasco location has not been added yet, but efforts are being made to get a location closer to Zephyrhills.

State Senator Danny Burgess of Zephyrhills, the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, announced that he is in discussions with the state department of health to secure an east Pasco location for the next round of vaccinations.

“The Department of Health is well aware of the issue and my office is in close contact with them and working them to do all we can to help,” Burgess said Tuesday. “We’ll do whatever is necessary to get an east side location.”

Burgess, who was elected to the senate in November, said the logistics of the vaccination distribution and administration is a work in progress.

“There is an incredible demand for the vaccine and prioritization has to be done in the beginning and that is getting it to our most vulnerable population of elderly and seniors our healthcare workers and frontline workers,” Burgess said Tuesday. “In this type of environments, you have to make those types of decision points and that’s where the focus has to be in the infancy of the distribution of the vaccine before we can move on to the next stages.”

Burgess said the supply and demand of the vaccine could come into play.

“Getting the vaccine could be challenging from a demand perspective,” Burgess said. “There’s only so many and there’s only certain ways these vaccination locations can accompany, accommodate and meet the demand. We’re going to continue to work through those issues and strive to meet the mission as we get our hands on the vaccine.”

In Burgess’ new role as taking the lead on the Select Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, he is using his experience as the former Director of Florida Department of Veterans Affairs as a guide.

When the COVID-19 broke out last year, Burgess was overseeing the FDVA and its residents in the seven veterans’ nursing homes throughout the state.

“It’s a massive mission and responsibility and I’m glad I can take the lead on this role,” Burgess said. “It’s something I’ve been living and breathing since COVID began with my work with the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is something I’m incredibly familiar with.

“I’ve had a front row seat when we were trying to get in front of this virus, and we know a lot more now. I’m grateful for the chance to take the lessons learned and apply it to this.”

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