In lifting the Biden-Harris administration’s priority of managing recovery and relief of COVID, the U.S. General Services Administration provided needed assistance to the state of Florida.
After officials from the state of Florida requested federal assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, FEMA sought the aid of GSA’s leasing experts in the agency’s Southeast Sunbelt Region to identify potential locations to distribute the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine to residents in one of South Florida’s most densely populated areas.
As part of the state’s vaccine roll-out plan, Florida officials required 23 locations to serve as points of dispersal (PODs) throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties, primarily focused 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.
“In this unprecedented time, we are taking a whole of government approach to stop the spread of COVID and protect Americans. GSA is proud to bring in a community solution, where we can host the site for vaccinations in South Florida,” said GSA Acting Administrator Katy Kale.
Since the state of Florida made the request through FEMA, 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 several sites to meet the requirements.
“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,” said Kevin Kerns, Acting Regional Administrator for GSA’s Southeast Sunbelt Region. “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.”
In the end, Region 4 PBS’ Real Estate Division found 28 locations that could potentially house a COVID-19 vaccine POD, giving state officials the option to choose sites that best fit their needs.