MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As we wait for Thursday’s independent advisory panel vote on Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, Governor Ron DeSantis says he expects all of Florida’s nursing home and assisted living facility residents to get their first dose by the end of the month.
He said the second priority will be health care workers who are in high risk and high contact environments.
“Be able to get it through, offer it to our healthcare systems, they are the tip of the spear, high contact workers, to be able to have them, well they’re going to be in a situation where going to be able to handle patient load going forward,” he said.
The governor said after that he wants to focus on getting the state’s seniors who are not living in nursing homes or ALFs vaccinated as well.
“We want to make available the vaccine, no one will be mandated to take the vaccine. This will be available, but not mandated,” said DeSantis.
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So far, Pfizer and Moderna are the only two companies that have formally applied for FDA approval, but more are expected more to follow suit.
The governor said the Pfizer vaccine is expected to arrive first. It has extraordinary storage requirements and requires two doses separated by 21 days.
The Moderna vaccine is easier to store and it doesn’t require ultra-cold storage, but it does require two doses, slightly longer separation than the Pfizer vaccine. Instead of 21 days with Pfizer, you have 28 days with Moderna.
“So, if we end up getting a certain number of doses, you have to cut that in half for a number of individuals who will be vaccinated, since each person requires two doses,” he said.
“Combined will be able to vaccinate roughly 20 million Americans by the end of December,” he added.
The governor said distributing a vaccine across a large and diverse state is a big challenge, but it is a major priority for the state of Florida.
DeSantis made the comments during a coronavirus summit at the White House on Tuesday.