Lee County leaders write governor asking him to visit vaccine site

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Lee County Commissioner Chair Kevin Ruane talks to WINK News about the letter he and other elected leaders wrote to the govenror asking for more vaccine doses at the site in Estero. Credit: WINK News.

Lee County’s mayors, commissioners and state representatives signed a letter sent to the the governor’s office asking him to visit the county’s vaccine.

Lee County is proud of its smooth operation at the old airport site, and Lee County leaders want the governor to see it for himself. They believe, if he visits, he will then send more vaccines.

“It’s runs like a Swiss watch,” Estero Mayor Bill Ribble said.

The letter asks the governor to put his foot on the gas and send more vaccines to Lee County, where workers can put thousands of shots in arms if only given the chance.

“It’s really a plea to have our governor and come on down, see it firsthand and understand whatever he wants from a logistics point of view,” Commissioner Chair Kevin Ruane said. “Understand what we have to offer.”

Ruane says the old airport site can administer 10,000 doses a day, but every time vaccination locations pop up, such as Publix, less vaccines go to the site.

“He’s trying to spread it out a little bit, and I understand that,” Ribble said.

“Several weeks ago, we were up to the 55 to 5,800 a week,” County Manager Roger Desjarlais said. “But Publix gets a portion of those allocated for the County, so what we have to administer from the site is about 2,500 doses per week right now.”

Ruane told us he wants people to have every option.

“Wouldn’t it be better to have choices?” Ruane said. “Why we don’t have choices. We don’t have vaccines.”

The less vaccine at the site, the more it costs.

“We’ll be at a cost per shot. That’s not going to be acceptable,” Dejarlais said.

The less effective, the more likely this machine could grind to a halt.

“We watch that from one week to the next, and we are prepared to pull that site down or modify it as necessary,” Dejarlais said.

That would be a drastic and dramatic step by Lee County, and no one, including the county manager, wants that.

So this letter is an invitation, a plea to not let all of this good work go to waste.

Lee County’s leaders told us they will have a conference call with members of the governor’s office Friday.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.