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How will initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine be distributed in Florida?

8 On Your Side

TAMPA (WFLA) – Tampa General Hospital is the first hospital in the Tampa area to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 8 On Your Side is digging into how Pfizer’s vaccine will be distributed among healthcare workers in Florida.

“This is a game changer,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

A FedEx truck arrived at the hospital to unload the first shipment on Monday. The first shot was administered to nurse Vanessa Arroyo, 31.

The state has broadly defined who gets the vaccine first.

“They’re going to focus on these high contact front line health care workers in this round,” said Gov. DeSantis.

Florida will get nearly 100,000 doses for health care workers by Tuesday morning.

“Today we will have shots going in arms,” said Gov. DeSantis. “We’re getting this at a good time, we think if we get it to the right folks who are the more likely to be hospitalized.”

But which hospital workers get protection first? 8 On Your Side wanted to know if front line workers will include the people who clean the floors of the COVID-19 unit.

Gov. DeSantis left before taking questions Monday. So, we asked USF Health scientist and Tampa General Dr. Kami Kim who says TGH received approximately 19,500 doses on Monday.

“How do you choose which healthcare workers get the vaccine first? What’s the criteria that’s being used?” asked Investigator Mahsa Saeidi.

“It’s the entire team, so it’s not just nurses and doctors,” said Dr. Kami Kim “The people who are taking care potentially the highest risk patients and everybody who supports those units because obviously… we’re a team.”

Doctors, nurses, patient care techs, custodians and those who administer COVID-19 tests will all be immunized, according to TGH leadership.

Tampa General must maintain custody of the vaccine. In the coming days, TGH teams will travel to other Tampa Bay area hospitals to vaccinate their staff.

On Thursday, Moderna’s vaccine will be reviewed by the FDA Advisory Committee. Emergency use authorization could be issued Friday, said Gov. DeSantis.

Florida is expecting to get roughly 365,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine.

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