TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Florida will receive 179,400 doses of Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine in its first shipment from the federal government, Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a video recording released Thursday evening.
More than half of the vaccines will be sent to five Florida hospitals to be administered to high-contact and high-exposure health care personnel, DeSantis said.
The remaining 81,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be sent to CVS and Walgreens and the Department of Health for use in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. DeSantis has made clear that residents of long-term care facilities are his top priority.
“We are working to get as much vaccine for our citizens as possible, but Florida will not, nor will any state, have enough to vaccinate everyone right off the bat,” DeSantis said in the video.
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According to DeSantis, 60,450 doses will be sent to CVS and Walgreens, which are under contract with the federal government to provide vaccines to residents and staff at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
Another 21,450 doses will be sent to the Florida Department of Health. The state agency, along with the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida National Guard, will administer the vaccine in areas of the state that “have a high concentration of facilities,” DeSantis said in the video.
The governor didn’t provide any additional details on which areas are considered to have a high concentration of facilities.
Florida was required to submit its final COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan to the federal government by Dec. 4. The News Service of Florida has made repeated requests for the public document but the governor’s office has not responded.
Thursday’s video was the first time DeSantis publicly said how many vaccines the state will receive.
The governor said Thursday that the five hospitals will receive 97,500 doses. Those hospitals are Jackson Memorial in Miami, AdventHealth in Orlando, Tampa General Hospital, the Memorial Healthcare System in Broward, and UF Health Jacksonville.
Jackson Memorial and Memorial Healthcare System are expected to get 20,000 doses each.
“We’ve been told that we’re going to receive 20,000 doses on this go around,” said Dr. Tom Macaluso, Interim Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Regional.
He said they’re ready to begin vaccinations of front line health care workers when they get the green light.
DeSantis’ office released the video about the vaccines hours after Florida Senate Democrats criticized his handling of the coronavirus.
“The vaccine distribution needs to be done in a scientific manner, and we haven’t seen that that’s happening at all here in the state right now,” Sen. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, told reporters during a virtual press conference.
At a White House summit earlier this week, Trump administration officials said the vaccine would be shipped to states within 24 hours of receiving emergency approval.
Pfizer’s vaccine candidate has not yet received emergency authorization approval from the federal government. Clearing the way for final approval, the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee on Thursday endorsed the vaccine candidate developed by Pfizer in conjunction with BioNTech Manufacturing.
Florida is closing in on 20,000 COVID-19 deaths and has logged more than 1.08 million cases of the virus since the onset of the pandemic.
Since the beginning of December, Florida has reported daily averages of 9,338 new COVID-19 cases and about 98 daily deaths tied to the virus. The daily average of cases is the highest for a nine-day period since late July.
(©2020 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida’s Christine Sexton contributed to this report.)