With coronavirus cases tracking at a rate of about 300 new cases per month in Oakland Park, the city commission received an update on vaccines from Holy Cross Hospital during its meeting on Wednesday.

The first meeting of 2021 occurred in the middle of Phase 1 of the vaccination rollout.

“This week has been a very big week for the county of Broward and for the hospitals in the area,” said Dr. John Cunha of Holy Cross. “We will be ramping up vaccine distribution greatly this week, and predominantly next week there will be a huge increase in the number of vaccines given out throughout the county.”

For the last three weeks, the state has been in Phase 1 of the vaccination process, which gives priority to residents and employees of long-term healthcare facilities and direct frontline care providers. Phase 1B will include non-healthcare essential workers, first responders, U.S. postal workers, and those who work in manufacturing, grocery stores, public transportation, teachers and support staff, and childcare workers.

Phase 1C will go to those 65 to 74 years old, those 16 to 64 with medical conditions, and other essential workers. Finally, Phase 2 will have mass vaccination clinics. Two vaccines are currently in use throughout the country: one from Pfizer and another from Moderna. Both are MRNA vaccines with up to 94% efficacy and require two doses of the vaccine over a 21- or 28-day time period.

Most of the vaccines from Holy Cross Hospital have been from Pfizer, Cunha said, and they have vaccinated more than 5,000 people. County data shows that almost 26,500 people 65 or older have received the vaccine.

Vaccination sites have opened throughout Broward County: Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek, Vista View Park in Davie, Markham Park in Sunrise, and Central Regional Park in Lauderhill. The public can visit browardcovidvaccine.com for an appointment. At the time of this article, all appointments were filled.

According to the state, as of Jan. 6, the city had 1,988 cases of coronavirus, up from 1,607 on December 6, 2020. Since October, each month has seen about 300 new cases of the virus. As for the county, there have been 146,201 cases of coronavirus — 7,586 people have been hospitalized and 1,897 have died.

“We have had a recent increase both locally as well as statewide and a significant increase nationally,” Oakland Park City Manager David Hebert said of coronavirus cases. “Vaccines are on the horizon, they are being distributed … but the trend again remains disturbing.”

Hebert also noted that a Holiday Park vaccination site will open next week. Oakland Park has joined up with the cities of Wilton Manors and Pompano Beach to assist Fort Lauderdale with the site.

Cunha also addressed frequently asked questions from commissioners:

  • Vaccinations are covered. Patients are asked to bring their insurance cards. Those without insurance may have to pay an administrative fee depending on where they receive their vaccine.
  • The current guidelines from the FDA are to have patients receive two doses of the vaccine in the timeline provided by the drug company. Other countries, such as Scotland, are staggering it to allow more people to be vaccinated.
  • The vaccine does not mean the patient is now “in the clear.” It takes five to six days for your body to start creating proteins to protect your body from the virus, and like any other vaccine, it’s not bulletproof. 
  • Side effects are minimal, such as soreness at the injection site, headache, or flu-like symptoms for a day.
  • Those with serious allergies that can lead to anaphylaxis are encouraged to receive their vaccine in a medical setting, such as a hospital.

For more information about the coronavirus vaccine, visit floridahealthcovid19.gov or contact your doctor.