The situation with the global pandemic has been rapidly changing all around the world. Recently, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland closed again due to rising COVID-19 numbers in the area, and Southern California was placed under a regional stay-at-home order based on its ICU numbers.
There’s also been some news in terms of a COVID-19 vaccine, with the Pfizer vaccine approved and the expectation of thousands of doses being distributed to Florida soon, including many to Orlando. And today a vaccine milestone was reached — the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines have been received and administered in Florida.
Earlier today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference at Tampa General Hospital where he gave an update on the COVID-19 situation in Florida. During the conference, Governor DeSantis noted that the first COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer have arrived in Florida at Tampa General Hospital, as well as two other hospital systems in Florida. Tomorrow, 2 more systems in Florida — including Advent Health in Orlando — are set to receive their sets of vaccines.
By tomorrow morning (December 15th), 5 hospital systems within the State of Florida are set to have a total of around 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. DeSantis noted that these first doses of the vaccine will be distributed to the hospital’s high-contact frontline workers. The hospitals who have received the vaccines have discussed distributing vaccines to employees of other hospitals in the area as well.
DeSantis noted that there are also around 60,000 doses set to go to CVS and Walgreens in Florida for those in long-term care facilities as part of the state’s long-term care mission, and the state will receive around 20,000 doses by tomorrow and the state will be working to help the long-term care mission. Governor DeSantis said that this is a “really significant milestone” in terms of combating coronavirus pandemic.
According to Governor DeSantis, a favorable recommendation for the Modern vaccine is expected toward the end of this week, and the State hopes to get doses of that vaccine next week (approximately 365,000 doses of Moderna are expected for Florida).
DeSantis noted that the initial focus for vaccine distribution will be on frontline healthcare workers and long-term care facilities. Following that, the focus will be on elderly individuals and those individuals that are at high-risk. But, as for today, DeSantis said there would be “shots going in arms” and that was fulfilled on camera as a nurse at Tampa General Hospital received the first vaccine. One Tampa General representative called these “doses of hope.”
The Pfizer vaccines require a second dose, which will be sent later so they can be administered. In terms of when COVID-19 vaccines will hit the general public, DeSantis said that more information on that will be available once the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is further investigated. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is set to only require a single dose. DeSantis noted that potentially in February of 2021, the state could be in a position where there are vaccines for more of the general public, but probably not before then and maybe not even at that point depending on what happens in the next few weeks.
And while one University of South Florida representative noted that “we’re almost there,” he still cautioned residents to keep wearing a mask, socially distance from others, and avoid large gatherings.
So, it seems distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine has begun, in its first phase, in Florida. We’ll continue to keep an eye out for key COVID-19 information and let you know what we find.