The Florida Medical Association (FMA) says the 179,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine that Florida received this week should be celebrated, despite the “limited” available doses.
In a statement issued on Thursday, FMA said they’re optimistic about the first round of vaccines, noting the Sisyphean task that drug companies overcame to produce the drug. The professional association also urged Floridians to continue to wear a mask, wash their hands, and avoiding large crowds in closed settings.
“Florida’s receipt of 179,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week is cause for celebration, and as noted by Dr. Charles Lockwood, Senior Vice President, USF Health, Dean, USF Morsani College of Medicine, ‘is our magical Neil Armstrong moment,'” said FMA President, Mike Patete, M.D.
“The Florida Medical Association is grateful for the herculean work done by the scientists and researchers who developed a safe and effective vaccine in an incredibly short period of time but is mindful that a full recovery from this horrible pandemic will only be possible if the public takes advantage of the gift that science has provided,” FMA continues in a press release. “With the Moderna vaccine’s imminent approval and distribution next week, and with other vaccines likely available early next year, the FMA urges everyone who can safely receive a vaccine to do so at the appropriate time. For maximum effectiveness, the FMA strongly recommends each person that receives an initial vaccine to follow up and ensure they receive the second dose within 21-28 days.”
I was interviewed today about receiving this highly effective #vaccine. Hope is here! As we enter the final stage of this #pandemic, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. We cannot let our guard down in the critical months ahead. pic.twitter.com/30mgARnTQU
— Charles Lockwood (@Lockwood_MD) December 16, 2020
FMA, which advocates for physicians and their patients to promote public health and enhance the quality and availability of health care in the Sunshine State, recognized the scarce availability of the vaccine and called for cooperation as they continue to work with the Florida Department of Health (DOH) moving forward.
“At the same time, the FMA recognizes that there is a limited amount of the vaccine available for distribution in December and urges patience as the state undertakes the unprecedented effort to implement a mass inoculation program. There are far more health care providers and long-term care residents who qualify for the first round of the vaccine than there is vaccine available,” the association continued.
“Manufacturing, distribution, and administration still pose challenges and will require an extraordinary level of cooperation in order to ensure that everyone who wants the vaccine receives the vaccine as soon as it becomes available. The FMA has been in contact with the Florida Department of Health and will continue to advocate that all physicians in the high risk/high contact category be provided appropriate access to the vaccine.
“As we begin the process of administering the vaccine to millions of people in this state, the FMA is committed to working with the Department of Health to ensure that Florida’s vaccination effort is conducted in a scientific, transparent, and fair manner as directed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices,” FMA concluded.
While the distribution of the vaccine remains stagnant, Governor Ron DeSantis said he’s confident the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will grant emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Moderna. The governor says he’s optimistic that the state will receive 370,000 doses of that company’s first round of distribution over the weekend.