MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After weeks of complaining that his city was being left out of the state’s vaccine distribution, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernández announced the arrival of one thousand doses on Friday and said he was gratified to see his city’s seniors receiving them.
The mayor said they are being given to seniors in four senior housing locations operated by the City of Hialeah and Hialeah Housing Authority.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine Joining In The Fight Against Global Pandemic
Hernandez told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench “We have been waiting for this for months. This goes to show what can happen when local government works with the state. We are very grateful for these 1,000 vaccines. We still need a lot more vaccines here not only in Hialeah but throughout South Florida where the percentage of vaccines arriving here is not even close to what should be received. We have been fighting for this from any angle possible. Everybody knows I have been fighting, not just for Hialeah but for all of South Florida. If we get more vaccines, we have everything filled out and we are ready to go. The message here is that local government can be very efficient but we need vaccines.”
“We have been focusing on the most vulnerable people in the state of Florida who need care. Now we have to continue prioritizing vulnerable patients, that is individuals who live and reside in public housing,” said City Council President Jesus Tundidor.
Avela Nunez said she was grateful for the vaccine.
“I feel very good about this,” she said.
She will have to return in three weeks for the booster for the Pfizer vaccine.
In late January, there had been arguments that Hialeah had not received the vaccine because there was a problem between Hernández and Governor Ron DeSantis.
The mayor, however, put that to rest, taking a shot at DeSantis in the process.
“I don’t have a problem with the governor. How can I have a problem with a person I have not seen since the beginning of the coronavirus issue. A person that’s been disappearing from this community,” he said.READ MORE: South Florida House Republicans Vote Against President Biden's $1.9 Trillion Pandemic Relief Package
Hernández sent a letter to both Florida Senators and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart asking for help.
“We are the 5th largest city in the state of Florida and the one most affected and we have no communication and no help whatsoever from the Governor or his office,” he added.
Friday’s doses were not the first doses designated for Hialeah’s seniors.
On February 6th, more than 500 seniors received the Pfizer vaccine at San Lazaro Catholic Church in Hialeah.
That distribution was facilitated by Senator René Garcia who thanked DeSantis, the Department of Health, Hope Mission Center, the National Guard, volunteers from Hialeah Housing, and the Miami-Dade Police Department for making it happen.
“This initiative could not have been accomplished without the help of the healthcare practitioners and frontline workers who have been at the forefront since the height of the epidemic. United, our community will thrive and overcome the virus,” said Garcia.
Also Friday, in Liberty City, seniors were able to receive the vaccine by walking up the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church.
“Thank you, Jesus. You are answering my prayers. What I would say to anyone who is nervous is think about your health and helping yourself and think about your family and friends who you are around and come down and get it,” Inez McPherson said.
Audrey McArthur said, “Just get up and get dressed and come on down.”MORE NEWS: Trump A Dominant Force At Conservative Conference In Orlando
“I’m excited. Everyone needs the vaccine and we need to work together,” Deborah Lee Brundidge said.