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Kurt Lischka

Staff member
Oct 15, 2004

Walton County will be receiving its first round of COVID-19 vaccines within the next few days. As directed by the State of Florida, these first deliveries will go directly to Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast hospital and will be shared with Healthmark hospital for high risk frontline health care workers. The vaccines are from Moderna and have been given Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA . The Moderna vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage so is better suited for Walton County distribution.

We are very happy to be receiving this vaccine and to work with our community partners for the distribution of the vaccine" said Holly Holt, Administrator and Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Walton County. "COVID-19 vaccines are a critical resource to preventing the further spread of the virus".

The State of Florida has been proactively preparing for vaccine distribution since July. The most at-risk populations have been prioritized to receive the initial round of vaccines. This includes residents and staff of long-term care facilities and high-risk frontline health care workers.

The next vaccines to come to Walton County will go to CVS and Walgreens. The State of Florida has contracted with both CVS and Walgreens to administer the vaccinations to Long-Term Care Facility staff and residents. The state has prioritized the safety of these populations since the onset of the pandemic. These populations are the most at-risk to contract the virus and experience complications from the virus.

Following the initial distributions to high-risk frontline health care workers and long-term care facility staff and residents, the state will work to provide vaccine to additional priority groups, including first responders.

The state is committed to providing the vaccine to each priority group and to the general public as quickly as possible, however, much of these plans are dependent on vaccine supply. Updates on timeline for the general public will be provided as those plans become available. The Florida Department of Health in Walton County (DOH-Walton) continues to work on our plans for points of distribution for the COVID-19 vaccine along with our partners. DOH-Walton will pull from our experiences with H1N1, Hep A and following Hurricane Michael to provide vaccine to our community. We are actively assisting medical offices in the process of signing-up to become COVID-19 vaccine providers.

The Walton County Board of County Commissioners, Department of Health Walton County and Walton County Emergency Management continue to refine their plans for the mass distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccine and will be moving quickly once widespread vaccines are available.

For updates about the vaccine and distribution from Governor Ron DeSantis, text FLCOVID19 to 888777 or visit COVID-19 Vaccines in Florida.

Kurt Lischka

Staff member
Oct 15, 2004
DOH-Walton Vaccine Information

The Walton County Health Department is committed to providing the COVID-19 vaccine to each priority group as well as the general public as quickly as possible.

Following the initial distributions to high-risk frontline health care workers, the health department will work to provide vaccine to additional priority groups.

There is no list, line, or registry available for individuals to sign up with to receive the vaccine through the Walton County Health Department at this time. Updates on how residents will be able to receive the vaccine will be announced as soon as those plans become available.

Lake View Too

SoWal Insider
Nov 16, 2008
Eastern Lake
I can't quite digest this. We are "beating" New York, Orlando, and Boston in cases per thousand?


Beach Fanatic
Jun 26, 2010
Where'd the MONEY go?


Walton County will be getting its own rapid testing equipment for COVID-19, using part of its latest allocation of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, part of a $2.2 trillion nationwide economic relief package.

The latest CARES Act funding for the county, $3.2 million, is one-quarter of the total amount of CARES Act funding coming to the county.

On Wednesday, in a continuance of their regular meeting on July 28, commissioners approved an outlay of $338,864 to cover the cost of three rapid-testing machines, the staff required to operate the machines, and the test strips analyzed by the machines.

The rapid tests can provide results within 15 minutes, as opposed to other available testing that must be sent to laboratories for analysis, and is now taking several days for results to get back to the person tested.

The county’s move to get rapid-test equipment and supplies comes as many business owners across the county, particularly in tourist-heavy southern Walton County, have been seeking wider availability of the rapid COVID-19 tests. They see rapid testing as an important way to limit the amount of time their businesses might have to be closed in the event that staff members contract the serious respiratory illness.

One of the machines, which will routinely be available for community testing, will also be used for what Walton County Administrator Larry Jones called “priority testing.” Such testing might be needed, Jones said, in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak at the county jail, in county government offices or in other community circumstances where immediate testing is a priority.

Holly Holt, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Walton County, told commissioners that the cost of the rapid-test machines and equipment was developed during discussions with three of the state-approved brokers who handle the items, and the price presented to commissioners is fixed, with no room for negotiation.

The equipment and supplies offered by each of the three brokers are identical, Jones told commissioners.

As of Wednesday morning, it was not clear when the county might get the rapid-testing equipment and supplies, but Holt told commissioners that she was scheduled to meet with a representative of Quidel, the California-based diagnostic healthcare manufacturer supplying the test machines and testing supplies, on Wednesday afternoon.

Commissioners also unanimously approved a $230,923 outlay to add five contact tracers to the Florida Department of Health in Walton County staff to assist in tracking down sources of COVID-19 cases. That money also will be used to hire three data clerks and a janitor for the health department, Jones told commissioners Wednesday. All of the new hires will be county employees, Jones told commissioners.

Commissioners also approved the expenditure of as much as $10,000 from CARES Act funding for protective suits. It’s not exactly clear what the health department might eventually need in terms of protective gear, Jones told commissioners.

But with the commission’s Wednesday action, funding to address whatever those needs might turn out to be will be available.

At the outset of Wednesday’s meeting, Jones urged quick action on the CARES Act allocation requests, telling commissioners, “The quicker we can get them in the process, the quicker we can get some results.”

County officials are, however, moving slowly on a couple of requests from the local health department for the CARES Act dollars.

Jones told commissioners that the county administration needs additional information on the health department’s request for two mobile medical units, at a cost of $475,000.

“We’ve had some extensive discussion on that, and at this time we’re not prepared to make a recommendation,” Jones told commissioners, adding that Holt has been asked to do some additional work on the request.

Also needing further analysis, Jones told commissioners, is a request that some CARES Act funding be used to install two “negative air pressure” rooms — one in the health department’s DeFuniak Springs offices, and another in its South Walton offices — to prevent cross-contamination. The health department also is asking that some funding be allocated to air quality assessment and ventilation system work at its facilities.

An initial request for CARES Act funding for that work totaled $75,000. Jones told commissioners Wednesday that county administrators would like to have a more clearly defined scope of services in connection with those requests before making any funding recommendations.

In other action Wednesday, commissioners capped the amount of CARES Act funding that will be made available to local nonprofit groups and non-governmental organizations implementing programs to address COVID-19 issues at $500,000, with no more than $35,000 to be allocated to any single organization that successfully applies for the funds.

That funding will go to participating organizations on a reimbursable basis, meaning that the organizations will have to spend their own money up front, for later reimbursement from the county.

Back in August, the Board of County Commission gave the Health Department along, with other entities, funds from the cares act to assist them with COVID-19 precautionary measures.

Holly Holt the Walton Florida Department of Health Administrator said they have been looking to spend these funds on air quality, PPE, and rapid testing options.

But Holt said they have run into some trouble receiving rapid testing kits after ordering them over a month ago.

“In four weeks we should be getting our rapid tests, but he feels like it is going to be less than that and he will give me a better idea on Friday.’ said Holt

After discussions beginning back in August, Holt said rapid tests still should be expected.

“I hate to say it a lot of people wanting these tests,” said Holt.

Currently, the rate of testing has gone down in the county, Holt said. But she expects it is because residents are waiting for the availability for these rapid tests.


Beach Lover
Jul 26, 2006
Something to ponder..... how many formal announcements of vaccination strategy have we seen from Holly Holt?

I've seen internet postings from the general public (most with second and third hand knowledge and/or assumptions) but WHERE is the formal, detailed strategy from the leader of this dilemma (i.e., Ms Holt?)

When has she personally been on the media (local TV, forums, sowal,com, newspapers, etc) formally announcing her distribution plan?

'Seems as though we are in a vacuum, awaiting leadership to clue us far the roll-out kabuki has been a series of misses without any hits......

The current circumstances are not best debated by web'sters on Facebook; reading chatter such as "my uncle bob had a fever but tested negative" on internet sites only distracts from the need for hard, factual direction.

........ Where is the timely and detailed game plan? And when will Ms Holt explain it to the Walton County residents?.
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