South Florida healthcare workers receive first coronavirus vaccines


MIAMI – Medical staff in South Florida have started to roll up their sleeves to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The first employees of Memorial Regional Hospital received their first of two doses of the vaccine Monday afternoon in Miramar.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the shots from pharmaceutical company Pfizer will arrive at Jackson Memorial Hospital on Tuesday and will be used to protect healthcare workers on the front lines of the crisis.

A 31-year-old nurse at Tampa General Hospital became the first person in Florida to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday morning.

By Tuesday, Florida will have 100,000 doses of the vaccine for five hospital systems – Jackson Memorial in Miami-Dade, Memorial Regional in Broward, Tampa General, University of Florida-Shands in Jacksonville, and Advent Health in Orlando.

The first nationwide healthcare workers were vaccinated earlier Monday in New York.

Once the vials arrive at JMH, they will be distributed to 13 other Miami-Dade County hospitals.

Jackson has ultra-cold vaccine-ready freezers, which must be kept at temperatures as low as -112 degrees.

Florida is expected to receive 179,400 doses, but that number is less than 1% of the state’s population.

“A number of 179,400 seems like a huge amount of vaccine. It is actually very little compared to our population, given that we have to give two doses to each individual, ”said Dr. Aileen Marty, infectious disease specialist, Florida International University.

Due to the shortage of supplies, only the most vulnerable can be vaccinated.

CVS and Walgreens are receiving the vaccine so residents and staff in long-term care facilities can get it.

The State Department of Health, Emergency Management Division, and the Florida National Guard will help pharmacies administer doses for long-term care facilities.

Everyone who receives the vaccine will receive a six-page information sheet from Pfizer that explains the benefits and risks of vaccination.

A recent internal survey of Jackson employees found that less than half of respondents (49%) would be interested in receiving the vaccine on their first round. Just over 35% said they would consider it in the future, while almost 15% said they were not at all interested in the COVID-19 vaccine.

Selenne Mayoral, a case manager and recent bedside nurse, said at first she was hesitant to get the shot, but has since changed her mind.

“Because I have parents and family that I don’t want to infect, so I thought I would go ahead and do it,” Mayoral said.

Another drugmaker, Moderna, is due to meet with the United States Food and Drug Administration on Thursday as it seeks emergency use authorization for its vaccine.

Copyright 2020 by WPLG – All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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