The administration at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare may have jeopardized future allocations of the COVID vaccination in Leon County and the surrounding area and may face administrative prosecution for potentially violating the Florida Governor’s Executive Order by offering the scarce vaccine to its board of directors at the end of December.
The Capitolist reported on January 10 the hospital’s potential violation of Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-315 regarding the distribution of the COVID vaccine. At the time, TMH was only allocated 6,800 doses to cover Leon and surrounding counties and, yet made the “executive decision” to offer the vaccine to its board of directors, several of whom were neither involved in direct patient contact or over the age of 65.
The December 23 Executive Order states, “During this first phase of vaccine administration. all providers administering any COVID19 vaccine shall only vaccinate the following populations:
• Long-term care facility residents and staff;
• Persons 65 years of age and older; and
• Health care personnel with direct patient contact.
Hospital providers, however, also may vaccinate persons who they deem to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 .”
That last statement may give the hospital a little wiggle room, but direct questions to the governor’s office of whether the hospital’s actions appear to have violated the Executive Order have gone unanswered to date.
However, DeSantis’ spokesperson Meredith Beatrice and Press Secretary Cody McCloud said in a statement to The Capitolist, “The State expects providers to comply with the Governor’s Orders, which will have the force and effect of law. Non-compliance will be considered when making future allocations. Practitioners who are licensed by the State who violate the order could face administrative prosecution.”
Florida Division of Emergency Management Press Secretary Samantha Bequer said, “Under Executive Order 20-315, health care personnel with direct patient contact are eligible, and hospital providers may vaccinate individuals who they have deemed to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
“However, the Florida Department of Health is and will investigate any reported misuse of the vaccine. This includes anyone who attempts to get the vaccine without being qualified. If individuals believe someone has received the vaccine without being qualified, we ask that all suspected incidents be reported to the appropriate county health department immediately.”
Those complaints can be made anonymously. In this case the appropriate county health department is the Leon County Health Department, (850)404-6300.