Nearly a year after the start of the pandemic, health care workers are faced with a new challenge: lack of needles.
For now, it seems like much of Southwest Florida is doing fine, because many places got ahead of the problem. In Charlotte County, vaccination supplies were ordered in bulk six months ago.
Joseph Pepe, director of the Florida Department of Health-Charlotte County, says the this was done because of what happened during testing, when the Department was short on swabs and other PPE.
“Lessons learned after trying to find swabs and everything else,” Pepe said. “We had conversations internally and talked to our EMS partners as well as our internal clinical staff. What I asked them was, take a look at all of the consumables that we use anyway, and let’s look at what we would purchase for the year and let’s get ahead of that. So this way we have a little bit of cushion.”
He says it was crucial for them to make sure the FDOH-Charlotte was ready for vaccinations.
“Gloves, the syringes, cotton balls, Band-Aids, anything like that, that we knew will be in high demand… and then working with our EMS partners as well, they did the same thing,” Pepe said. “We stocked up on our side.”
In Lee County, the FDOH says its supply is OK. NCH was actually the hospital system that alerted WINK News to the issue, adding how important it is to stay three to six months ahead of the problem. It helps mitigate the issue that the vaccine doses themselves come with syringes.