JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With multiple COVID-19 vaccines nearing approval, the state of Florida has begun to shed light on how doses of the vaccine will be distributed once they’re available.
Gov. Ron DeSantis previously said the first phase of the vaccine distribution effort will be focused on vaccinating those most at risk, namely residents of long-term care facilities and frontline healthcare workers.
Next in line for the vaccine would be Floridians who are either above the age of 65 or have underlying health conditions that could make them more vulnerable to COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.
Kevin Duane, who owns Panama Pharmacy in Jacksonville, said the state will likely move to the second phase of its distribution plan once there’s enough vaccine in stock to keep up with demand. He told News4Jax he expects the state to set up mass vaccination clinics for the public.
Duane said he would expect the state to notify the media of these clinics ahead of time so they can let the public know. He also recommended that seniors and people with underlying health conditions check in with their healthcare providers or pharmacists to stay in the loop.
“We’re getting updates as pharmacists and I’m sure other healthcare providers are getting updates on almost a daily basis, sometimes a (weekly) basis,” Duane said. “So I’m sure any of those healthcare practitioners will also be able to point you in the right direction, if they don’t have the vaccine, where the vaccine may be available.”
Local residents who are in the at-risk age group and don’t live in a long-term care facility are keeping close tabs on developments related to the vaccine. Charles and Mildred Harrod, who have been married 51 years, said they are monitoring updates on the vaccine, but they still don’t know where they’ll get it once it’s available.
“Yeah, we are,” Mildred said. “Definitely watching it.”
Duane noted that Florida’s vaccine distribution plan might differ from other states because each is making its own preparations to deliver doses of the vaccine to the masses once it’s ready for public consumption.