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Coronavirus in Florida: How will vaccines be distributed

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)- A 31-year-old nurse at Tampa General Hospital rolled up her left shirt sleeve Monday and became one of the first people in Florida to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, state and local officials are working to administer the nearly 20,000 doses Tampa General Hospital received.

Front line nurse Vanessa Arroyo who has been working at Tampa General Hospital for eight years received the Pfizer vaccine with Governor Ron DeSantis in attendance.

With 1,710 new coronavirus cases in Tampa Bay counties including 43 deaths Monday, Gov. DeSantis was eager to see the vaccine administrated to health care workers.

“Let’s actually get some shots in arms,” DeSantis said Monday before Arroyo was vaccinated.

Last week, DeSantis outlined the vaccination distribution plan in the state:

  • 97,500 doses are being shipped to hospitals for vaccine to high-contact and high-exposure health care distribution to the five hospitals in Florida chosen because they are equipped with cold storage containers to store the vaccine at 80 degrees below centigrade. Along with Tampa General Hospital, UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, UF Health Jacksonville, AdventHealth Orlando, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, and Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, will prioritize staff members being vaccinnated vaccinated based on their risk of getting COVID-19.
  • 60,450 doses of the vaccine will be sent to CVS and Walgreens to be used in long-term care facilities. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a partnerxship with both to distribute the vaccine to the facilities.
  • 21,450 doses of vaccine will go directly to the Florida Department of Health. Teams from Health, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and the Florida National Guard will go into long-term care facilities and administer the vaccine in areas with a high concentration of facilities.

By Tuesday morning more than 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will have been distributed to Florida hospitals. By the weekend, 179,000 doses will be in the state.

Next week, the state will receive 365,000 doses of the vaccine, and in just a few weeks— pending FDA approval— up to 1 million doses could be in Florida.

The New York Times developed an interactive tool to find out where you are in line to receive the vaccination based on your state, your line of work, and other health risks.

“This is 20,000 doses of hope,” John Couris, president and CEO of Tampa General said on Monday. “This is monumental if you’re sitting in our shoes, caring for the patients that need us the most.”

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