Florida expecting to get about 120,000 COVID-19 vaccines in coming days

The Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant is shown in Portage, Mich., Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. The U.S. gave the final go-ahead Friday to the nations first COVID-19 vaccine, marking what could be the beginning of the end of an outbreak that has killed nearly 300,000 Americans. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida is expecting to get around 120,000 doses of the vaccine as part of the first phase of distribution.

The priority for health officials are hospitals and long-term care facilities.

It’s likely the first doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine will be sent out within 48 hours.

On Saturday, the state’s department of health told News4Jax that during the first phase of the roll-out, 21,450 doses will be sent directly to the department.

Partnering with the Division of Emergency Management and the Florida National Guard, the department said it will form “strike teams” to get those doses to where they’re badly needed at long-term care facilities.

Meanwhile, nearly 100,000 doses are earmarked for key hospitals across the state.

With 19,500 going to each hospital facility, UF Health in Jacksonville is one of them.

Those doses will be given to “high-contact and high-exposure health care personnel.”

Immunologist Dr. Sunil Joshi says the news of a vaccine is great, but that it’s not yet time to relax.

“People are going to start getting the vaccine soon, but we need to continue to wear our masks, continue to stay socially distant, continue to wash our hands, not get together in large groups, especially in indoor arenas, and things like that until we get further down the line,” he said.

Dr. Joshi also said just because this vaccine development process was given emergency use authorization by the FDA that doesn’t mean it was rushed.

The Pfizer trial involved 45,000 and all the same agencies that would normally have oversight had a say in the creation the vaccine.

About the Author:

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.