TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – In what appears to be promising news, Tampa General Hospital is one of five hospitals statewide that will get COVID-19 vaccine doses when they are shipped as early as next month.
The hospitals made the announcement followed by a pre-recorded video statement from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“The vaccine news has been particularly heartening that has come out in the last couple weeks,” DeSantis said Thursday.
He said the state has purchased five million syringes, five million needles, and five million alcohol swabs to administer the vaccine in Florida.
Along with TGH, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, UF Health in Jacksonville, Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, and AdventHealth in Orlando will give out the shots.
“We think it’s gonna be in the next few weeks. We don’t have an exact time,” said Dr. Seetha Lakshmi of TGH, regarding a timeframe for the vaccine’s arrival.
“AdventHealth has been tapped by the state of Florida as one of the first sites to store and administer the new COVID-19 vaccine – or vaccines – as they come online for use,” AdventHealth said in a statement. “Many details will be worked out in the weeks and months ahead, and we remain committed to being a national leader in coronavirus treatment and research, and a trusted resource for our community.”
She mentioned hospital leaders were expected to speak to the U.S. Surgeon General Thursday.
“So who’s going to get the vaccine is really dependent on how much planning we will put into this up to this point,” she said. “The healthcare workers on the front lines are going to be the priority No. 1.”
Meanwhile, DeSantis explained a person would require two shots: an initial shot and then another a week or a few weeks later.
He said 40 million doses are available nationwide, meaning 20 million people will receive the vaccine. It is unclear who will get the vaccine first, the governor said.
“Around the entire world, on the clinical trials, not one person has died that actually received the vaccine. But we are watching thousands of people die, who become infected by the virus,” Dr. Kevin Sneed, of USF Health, said to 8 On Your Side.
The companies explained the vaccines are 90 to 95 percent effective.
“I think it’s excellent. I would go for it. A little nervous that it might not have had its time to see what the side effects would be,” said Tampa resident Linda Miller.
USF Health professor Dr. Tom Unnasch explained there is no need to worry.
“The technology is safe and when you have a 95 percent rate of success, we were gonna be happy with 75 percent. So to have 95 percent, that’s a very good thing,” he said.
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