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Tampa General Hospital preparing to accept first shipments of coronavirus vaccine

Coronavirus

TAMPA (WFLA) – As the state of Florida prepares for the arrival of a coronavirus vaccine pending approval by the FDA, Tampa General Hospital says it is ready to receive, store and administer the vaccine.

A TGH spokesperson tells 8 On Your Side the hospital excepts doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine to be delivered on or before Dec. 15.

Tampa General Hospital is one of only five hospitals to participate in the state’s pilot program for distributing the coronavirus vaccine.

“The vaccine will be administered to TGH team members and care providers in a phased approach using the CDC’s guidelines and depending on the amount of supply we receive (still to be determined),” a statement from TGH said.

Tampa General Hospital has large freezers that can each hold about 30,000 doses of vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold storage in -70° C.

This week, a CDC panel recommended that states give those first doses to health care workers and long-term care facilities. Gov. Ron DeSantis has already said his priority is nursing homes.

The FDA will review Pfizer’s vaccine on Dec. 10, followed by Moderna’s on Dec. 17. If and when emergency authorization is granted, the companies say they are ready to begin distribution within 24 hours.

Supply and logistical challenges will require releasing the vaccine in phases over several months, meaning that if you’re younger, relatively healthy, and don’t work in a health care environment, don’t expect access to the vaccine for several more months.

As the nation experiences the worst surge of the virus since the start of the pandemic, health experts stress the need to wear masks, social distance and avoid large gatherings to slow the spread.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control issued a new recommendation of “universal mask use” outside of the home.

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