MIAMI (WSVN) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Jackson Memorial Hospital on Monday to discuss his plan to better distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to seniors across South Florida.
DeSantis said it’s exciting to see that there are many people who are interested in receiving the vaccine, but the process has been frustrating, so he announced the state is making changes to address the issues facing potential patients.
“2020 was not a great year,” DeSantis said.
But with the new year, the governor is expressing some new optimism.
On Monday, he provided an update on the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.
He acknowledged there have been bumps in the road. To fix that, he’s directed the Division of Emergency Management and the Department of Health to partner together.
“We’re taking the necessary steps to ensure the vaccine gets administered as quickly as possible,” DeSantis said.
Four new initiatives have also been put into place.
They include making sure underserved communities have access to the vaccine, hiring additional staff, continuing to prioritize long-term care residents and creating more state-run sites.
“Anything that the state’s involved in, I’ve directed that they need to be open seven days a week,” DeSantis said.
Eligible patients in Jackson’s healthcare network are already getting their shots.
“I feel at peace inside that I already have the first vaccine, and I’m looking forward to the second one,” said Marlene Dennis.
Starting Tuesday, Jackson Health will have an online appointment system where anyone 65 years of age or older can sign up for their own vaccination.
Jackson Health CEO Carlos Migoya said they anticipate being able to eventually vaccinate 60,000 to 75,000 people a week.
“We’d be able to vaccinate approximately 60% of the over-65 in Miami-Dade County, which happens to be a total of 465,000 people, sometime by the end of January, early week of February,” Migoya said.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call FDOH’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.