MIAMI (WSVN) – Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami will receive its batch of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday morning, according to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Tomorrow, Jackson Memorial in Miami will receive its shipment,” DeSantis said during a media conference on Monday morning. “We saw them put it into the deep freeze. Pfizer requires negative 70 degrees.”
Jackson Memorial Hospital is one of two hospitals in South Florida to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The other hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital, received its batch on Monday.
On Florida’s west coast, a nurse at Tampa General Hospital was the first person in the state to receive the medication.
Justin Senior, the CEO of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, said JMH waiting an extra day is most likely due to logistics.
“It’s been a rough year, and I think that 24 hours shouldn’t be too much of a difference in the long run,” he said.
The virus is still surging in Florida, with more than 8,400 new cases reported Monday.
The state also topped 20,000 deaths when it reported 137 new fatalities.
A total of 179,400 doses will be distributed in the state.
The first doses are being distributed to healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The expectation is in the next several months that there will be enough supply of vaccines to vaccinate 100 million Americans,” said FDA chief Stephen Hahn.
February and March are when leaders expect the general population to be able to get the vaccine.
Senior said the focus now is to vaccinate as many healthcare professionals and nursing home residents as possible while preparing for more vaccines to become approved by the FDA.
“That’s really what we’re trying to do right now, is set it up so that 2021 is significantly better than 2020,” he said.
DeSantis, meanwhile, said large pharmacy chains will also be receiving vaccines to distribute to senior care facilities, but for the time being, hospitals will be the largest recipients of the medication.
“By tomorrow morning is almost 100,000 doses for these five hospital systems,” he said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts April to be when the vaccine will be widely available to Americans.
“It will be, I guess if you want to call it, ‘Open season’ in the sense of anyone — even the non-high-priority groups — could get vaccinated,” said Fauci.
Experts estimate about 70% of Americans will need to get vaccinated before the country potentially reaches herd immunity, which could be as late as May or June, according to the Operation Warp Speed Chief Advisor Dr. Moncef Slaoui.
However, Slaoui admits he is worried about public opinion of the vaccine.
“It is, however, critical that most of the American people decide and accept to take the vaccine,” Slaoui said. “We are very concerned by the level of hesitancy that we see.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the U.S. has requested an additional 100 million doses of their vaccine. They’re now negotiating those terms.
“The U.S. government is asking [for] more,” said Bourla. “They have asked now an additional 100 million doses from us. We can provide them the additional 100 million doses but right now, most of that we can provide in the third quarter. The U.S. government wants them in the second quarter so we are working very collaboratively with them to make sure that we can find ways to produce more or allocate the doses in the second quarter as well.”
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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