Florida’s fight against COVID-19 gets shot in the arm

by | Dec 14, 2020

Vanessa Arroyo, 31, became the first Florida recipient of a coronavirus vaccine this morning.

She received the shot at Tampa General Hospital, where she has been employed as a nurse for the last eight years. Arroyo is a front-line healthcare worker, treating patients in the hospital’s new COVID unit, the Taneja Family Global Emerging Diseases Institute. She was given the vaccine as part of Governor Ron DeSantis’ press conference announcing the arrival of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Florida and updating Floridians on its roll-out.

“This is a really, really significant milestone in combating corona virus,” said DeSantis.

Tuesday morning, Tampa General Hospital and four other Florida hospitals will have 100,000 does of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to the governor. Florida is expected to have 179,000 doses by the end of the week. These first doses will go to other frontline healthcare workers. Each hospital is expected to vaccinate its employees and work with other hospitals in their region to vaccinate other hospital employees.

Pending approval at the end of this week by the Food and Drug Administration, DeSantis said he expects Florida will receive 365,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, a week from now.

He said he hopes Pfizer will provide “several hundred thousand” more doses by next week, bringing the state’s total up to between 700,000 and 1 million doses of vaccine by the end of the year.

He also said 60,000 doses will be sent to CVS and Walgreens for distribution.

Vaccines will first be given to front-line healthcare workers, followed by the most vulnerable residents of long-term care facilities, followed by seniors and others at high risk. DeSantis said by February, he expects the vaccine to be available to everyone in the state.


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