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GSA's Federal Leasing Agents Ink Deals For COVID-19 Vaccine Sites

The General Services Administration is giving a shoutout to its Southeast Sunbelt Region real estate leasing team for having quickly arranged COVID-19 vaccination sites in South Florida. 

A computer graphic of the coronavirus, produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When Florida officials requested federal assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the Federal Emergency Management Agency turned to the GSA, according to an administration statement.

Airrion Moore, deputy regional emergency coordinator with GSA’s Office of Mission Assurance, worked with Chris Wainwright, a leasing contract officer with GSA’s Public Buildings Service, to identify and vet sites.

Florida needed 23 locations to serve as points of dispersal throughout Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, primarily in underserved areas.

"Each site needed to meet specific requirements in order for health officials to accommodate the demand for vaccines: immediate availability for a 36-month lease, at least 10,000 indoor square footage, accessibility and large parking areas," the statement said.

The Region 4 PBS’ Real Estate Division ultimately identified 28 locations, giving state officials options.

“Guiding our nation through a public health crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic is very similar to how we address more conventional hazardous situations, like natural disasters. Thanks to work done by Airrion and Chris, as well as the rest of our leasing team’s Florida branch, the state will soon be able to provide even more vaccinations to the residents most in need throughout South Florida,” Kevin Kerns, acting regional administrator for GSA’s Southeast Sunbelt Region, said in a statement.

CBS Miami reported on Feb. 25 that three state-run, by-appointment-only vaccination sites geared for underserved communities opened in South Florida at Broward College North Campus, the Father Gerard Jean-Juste Community Center, and in an Overtown parking lot at 1551 NW First Ave. in Miami. A FEMA-backed site was scheduled to open at Miami-Dade College North Campus on March 3.

Other FEMA sites around the state include Valencia College West Campus in Orlando, Tampa Greyhound Track and Gateway Mall in Jacksonville, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced.

In Florida, vaccines have so far been available only to people 65 and over, health care workers, and long-term care facility staff and residents. Some people have criticized DeSantis for the state's vaccination rollout, alleging that sites were located in wealthy ZIP codes or favored DeSantis' political donors. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has called for a congressional investigation.

Meanwhile, DeSantis said that law enforcement officers and teachers will soon be able to get vaccinated at FEMA sites and that vaccines will probably be opened up to younger age groups in March. People can pre-register to get the vaccine here.