A failure to plan
The Rev. Wayne G. Thompson has every right to be frustrated over failed attempts to obtain vaccine appointments for himself and his mother. Elderly Florida residents should not have to struggle to “score coveted doses” of COVID-19 vaccines. Since early last year, our state and federal leaders were told by the medical community of the coming necessity to vaccinate our most vulnerable residents. But now, nearly a year later, Florida’s senior citizens are still attempting to obtain a vaccine that was created in December.
Contrast this to how Hillsborough county educators responded during the pandemic. On Friday, March 13, after students and faculty had left to begin their Spring Break, schools were told that brick and mortar classes would be suspended indefinitely. With one week to plan, administrators and school technology specialists rushed to get computer laptops to students. Lunchroom workers made sure all needy students would still receive school lunches. By March 30, all students were receiving on-line instruction from their teachers.
With months to plan for vaccinations, the best solution our leaders could come up with was to have Tampa’s elderly log on to a website, stay on-line for over an hour and then hope that an appointment is available at a Publix pharmacy over an hours’ drive away. Our elected officials should be ashamed and our voters should not forget.
D.C. Gutierrez, Tampa
What about us?
Your paper Sunday tells it as it is about the vaccine distribution. Those who are not computer literate, those who are homebound and those of us well over 65 with underlying conditions are losing out. My healthy friends over 65 have had shots. I am almost 90 with cancer and can’t get into the Pinellas County website, and I am computer literate. We are the forgotten ones.
Barbara Counts, St. Petersburg
Bad grades deserved
I was glad to learn about the billion-dollar commitment to deal with climate change from our governor in this year’s budget. Now if our utility companies would make a serious change to renewable energy. We should be leading the nation in solar power here in the Sunshine state. We wouldn’t accept it if our kids brought home D and F grades from school. We shouldn’t accept it from Duke Energy Florida, Florida Power & Light or TECO.
Martin Fouts, St. Petersburg
Prioritize job creation
Speaking as a non-partisan voter, President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill seems excessive on the surface, and the $600 billion Republican counteroffer seems somewhat lacking.
While I and 60 percent of Florida voters support a $15 minimum wage, I don’t think it belongs in the COVID relief package. Plus, the Congressional Budget Office recently reported that the number of people employed won’t reach last year’s highs until 2024 and the unemployment rate might not fall to February 2020 levels until the end of the decade. It seems to me the problem is a lack of jobs in certain geographical areas. So, if the two parties want to unify to develop a COVID relief bill that will do the most good, I think it needs to include job creation, perhaps the long promised infrastructure bill both parties have touted.
Let’s use this unique opportunity to pass an historic bill that addresses the future as well as the moment.
Deb Mazzaferro, St Petersburg