Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Commissioner Christian Whitehurst's Unfair Attack on Dr. Dawn Allicock, M.D., M.P.H, C.P.H Over COVID-19 Vaccines

Some unsophisticated, inept and inadequate Southern white men have a gender-specific problem when problems arise. They blame the nearest female.  This attitude eventually got racist, sexist, homophobic St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK fired on November 19, 2019.

St. Johns County Commission is corporate directed.  

It is all white, all male and all Republican.  

Two of the Commissioners even attend the same church, where one of them is the preacher.

Faced with a dangerously ineffectual Governor, RONALD DION DeSANTIS, and a dangerous President, DONALD JOHN TRUMP, brand new St. Johns County Commissioner Christian (sic) Whitehurst demonized a woman January 12, 2021, blaming the victim of DeSANTIS's and TRUMP's inadequacies on COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

1. Please watch the video of new St. Johns County Commissioner Christian Whitehurst's failed demand for a vote of no confidence in local State Health Department Director Dawn Allicock, M.D., M.P.H., C.P.H. over COVID-19 vaccine rollout.  It was a cheap shot, with no notice to Dr. A, nothing was on the agenda, and there was no backup material. I opposed it. Commissioners rejected it, 4-1.  Please see https://stjohnscountyfl.new.swagit.com/videos/111425

(item 5, and my response in general public comment at end of meeting)

2. This same haughty new St. Johns County Commissioner demands to eliminate his duty to attend weekly emergency meetings on COVID-19 crisis.  The next discussion will be at the January 19, 2021 SJC BoCC meeting. Video here:  https://stjohnscountyfl.new.swagit.com/videos/111425 (item 4)

3. This same new right-wing County Commissioner was the only one to vote against accepting some $7.9 million in federal financial assistance for renters. Whitehurst asked questions about what proof that renters qualifying for assistance -- in a county dependent on tourism -- have of their situation being the result of COVID-19.  
Please see https://stjohnscountyfl.new.swagit.com/videos/111425. (item 4).  Does Whitehurst lack empathy for working people?

4. Query: did the discussion at the January 12, 2021 meeting count as a "first reading" of the ordinance eliminating attendance, even by Zoom, at weekly meetings, because there was not a roll call vote?  I doubt it.

From St. Augustine Record:

St. Johns County commissioners criticize health dept. leader over COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Commissioner Christian Whitehurst floats vote of no confidence in Dr. Dawn Allicock, which fails to get support

Sheldon Gardner
St. Augustine Record
In this file photo from The Record, Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County Director Dr. Dawn Allicock speaks at a press conference  on March 24 about the county's response to the coronavirus.

St. Johns County Commissioner Christian Whitehurst Tuesday called for a vote of no confidence in Dr. Dawn Allicock, director of Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County, citing the troubled first few days of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The Commission voted 4-1 against the move, but several commissioners still criticized the distribution effort. 

The county took over vaccine distribution, at the department's request, after the first few days of the department-led effort resulted in hours-long lines. 

"I have spoken with a number of residents who went through the initial vaccination process with the Department of Health and did not receive an appointment for the second dose," Whitehurst said. "That, coupled with all the stories of people waiting in their cars overnight, the lack of the Department of Health to avail themselves of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office to help with traffic, and the many other resources that the county was offering, I'm going to make a motion that this board pass a vote of no confidence towards Dr. Allicock."

Christian Whitehurst

Commissioner Henry Dean said he was extremely disappointed in how Allicock handled the rollout and that safety issues were "created when elderly folks had to stay in their car along U.S. 1 without adequate facilities that they would really need."

But he voted against the motion. 

"I think in fairness to Dr. Allicock, I feel like I owe her the opportunity to come here and have an open, frank and valid discussion before I would move forward with a decision on whether or not to vote for a no confidence in her," Dean said. 

Dean suggested setting the item on the agenda for Jan. 19, but fellow commissioners did not support the idea. 

Henry Dean

Whitehurst added, "I'm not questioning her ability as a doctor. I'm certainly not questioning her care for her patients. I just believe that her job was to stand up a system with a reasonable amount of lead time, knowing that the vaccine would be available. And in my judgement, she failed to do that. She didn't avail herself of the many resources that the county offered."

County Commission Chair Jeremiah Blocker said Allicock had been given the invitation to appear in person at Tuesday's meeting. She attended the early part of the meeting via telephone but didn't appear to be there for the discussion on the vote of no confidence. 

Commissioner Jeb Smith said the state health department has the responsibility of administering the vaccine statewide. 

"I think we've seen a tremendous failure here to take the resources that were available, that were made available, that were known to be available, to handle the situation," Smith said. "Now, with that being said, we have had to put additional resources into this as well, and I think it's well-known publicly that St. Johns County, our staff, administration and staff, has exerted a tremendous amount of effort to make sure that this was done correctly." 

He added, "But we sure are thankful and grateful that there was a plan in place to back up the failure that was done by the local department of health. I know each of us has received a tremendous amount of response negatively as a result of that as well. I don't want to be hasty and to be rash in a response to that. But I think it is necessary to understand, Dr. Allicock, that I was very disappointed in … what has occurred."

Jeb Smith

Blocker added that he was also very disappointed in how the process unfolded. 

"We had months to prepare for this. We had ample opportunity to address the gaps that were in place. Those discussions, based on my understanding, were not facilitated by the department of health," he said. 

Blocker added that the county has no authority over the department of health. 

"We cannot fire Dr. Allicock. We cannot hire a replacement. We have no involvement whatsoever. I understand the motion. I understand the issues behind it because I think we all have been living it ― all of our staff. … However, we do have to work through this. We have … thousands of residents that need to be vaccinated. We have to have a working relationship with the department of health," Blocker said. 

In response to a request for comment from Allicock, the local Department of Health spokeswoman sent a statement to The Record:

"The Florida Department of Health in Saint Johns County has no comment on the actions or decision making of today’s Saint Johns County Board of County Commissioner meeting. The Florida Department of Health in Saint Johns County remains, as always, committed to serving all residents and visitors of the community."

Jeremiah Blocker

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