TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa General became one of the first hospitals in Florida to receive 20,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday.
“This is a game changer. It’s a great day for the United States. It’s a great day for Florida,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
A FedEx truck arrived at the hospital at about 10:10 a.m. to unload the first shipment. The first shot was administered to nurse Vanessa Arroyo about an hour later. Arroyo, 31, has been working for the hospital since 2012.
“This is a magic moment. I thought back to when I was a kid and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. I’m considering this moment for health care as our magic Neil Armstrong moment,” said Dr. Charles Lockwood, Dean of USF Morsani College of Medicine.
More vaccines will be administered to health care workers and staff members who are in contact with infected patients.
The hospital is one of five in Florida taking part in the state’s pilot program.
The facility has three freezers that can store 510,000 doses at once. The vaccine must be stored at -80 degrees Celsius.
The hospital’s partners, AdventHealth, BayCare, Bayfront, HCA and Moffitt, will receive shipments of the vaccine once the initial phase of its rollout is complete. During the process, the vaccine will be under tight security at all times.
“Tampa General will at all times maintain custody of the vaccine when we provide the vaccine to our local hospitals. The vaccine will be transported and it will stay under TGH supervision for the doses being administered at every site,” said Dr. Ramon Docobo, Assistant Director of Pharmacy at Tampa General Hospital.
The distribution process is expected to last a few months.
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