TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) — Gov. Ron DeSantis gave an outline on Thursday on the state’s plan for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine pending approval from the FDA and talked about new therapeutic treatments that are available to those most vulnerable to the virus.
“The State of Florida has been working to procure the new treatment for our hospitals and has also made plans to assist in the distribution of a safe and effective vaccine, which we believe will be delivered relatively soon,” DeSantis said in a video statement.
DeSantis, who hasn’t talked to the media in weeks, said the state has been “actively planning and preparing for vaccine distribution, including by purchasing necessary supplies.”
He said the state has already purchased 5 million syringes, 5 million needles and 5 million alcohol swabs and identified 5 different hospital systems with the ability to store the vaccine at the required temperatures and administer it.
“Both Pfizer and Moderna have reported vaccines with 95% effectiveness. Those will hopefully, within the next few weeks, receive FDA approval. The Pfizer vaccine is one that needs to be stored in negative 70-degree temperatures. The Moderna vaccine can be used in normal refrigeration and does not require those extreme low temperatures. That will potentially provide more flexibility,” said DeSantis.
WATCH ENTIRE VIDEO: DeSantis Outlines Vaccine Distribution Plans
He said there will be roughly 40 million doses of the two vaccines available once the FDA gives approval. About 40 million from Pfizer and 15 million from Moderna.
“Each individual requires two doses. That would mean there will be enough vaccine for 20 million Americans by the end of December,” said DeSantis. “The good thing about this is millions of doses are ready to ship as we speak. As soon as the FDA approves, they will then go out within the next 24 hours. We expect our hospitals, hopefully, to receive these within the next 3 to 6 weeks. It is all contingent on when the FDA approves.
Shortly thereafter, or maybe even at the same time that hospitals are receiving the vaccine, both CVS and Walgreens will also begin receiving the vaccine to administer to residents of long-term care facilities, who are of course our most vulnerable citizens when it comes to COVID-19.”
DeSantis said nearly 2,000 long-term care facilities have already registered so they can start getting their residents vaccinated as soon as the vaccine arrives.
“Our goal is to make all safe and effective COVID vaccines available to Floridians who want them, but the state will not mandate that Floridians take these vaccines. That is going to be the choice of each and every Floridian.”
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“As we move forward, my administration is going to continue to work hand in hand with our federal partners, and we will provide you updates as soon as we have them,” the governor said.
He also spoke about a new therapeutic developed by Eli Lilly.
“The treatment is a monoclonal antibody cocktail. It is administered through an IV. It takes about an hour for the IV to be administered, and then an hour to observe the patient afterwards. It is best used for people who are at high-risk of severe complications from COVID-19.” He said data from clinical trials found a 70% reduction in hospitalized patients who utilized this treatment.
A similar cocktail is being developed by the company Regeneron and is currently pending before the FDA for emergency use authorization.