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40,000 Floridians Get Pfizer’s Vaccine In First Week — And 367,000 Moderna Doses Coming

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Central Florida, with enough doses for 20,000 people to get vaccinated. (video courtesy AdventHealth)

More than 350,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine  arrive in Florida this week, as the state’s vaccination campaign ramps up in force.

So far, the FDA has authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use: Pfizer’s vaccine, which must be stored in ultra-cold freezers, and one from Moderna. More than 40,000 Floridians have gotten the first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine since it became available, according to a state report released over the weekend.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says 367,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are coming to Florida this week. Since it doesn’t need to be kept ultra cold, like the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna one will be distributed to 173 hospitals in 43 counties. 

Speaking to reporters Monday, DeSantis said he wants to prioritize residents over 75 ahead of essential workers.

“We’re looking at, take away what we’ve already received, maybe another 750,000 doses by the end of the month, maybe a little more,” DeSantis said. “Then hopefully a million and a half, 2 million doses in January. That can do a lot in the 70-plus population. If you’re gonna try to do every essential worker, that’s not gonna be nearly enough for what you would need anyway.”

The COVID-19 vaccines are currently being offered to frontline health care workers and residents of longterm care facilities. An FDA panel is recommending essential workers and people over the age of 75 be the next groups to get vaccinated.

The vaccines could not come at a better time in Florida. The state is now averaging more than 10,805 new cases per day in the last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University analyzed by NPR. That’s an 11 percent increase over last week – bolstered by two days of nearly 13,000 new cases last week. 

Florida added about 10,700 new COVID-19 cases, according to figures released today. DeSantis said the state will encourage vaccinations, but will not require it.

“While we encourage you to take it, we will not mandate that you do so,” DeSantis said. “I’m also continued to our state’s continued economic recovery. I’ll always protect the right of Floridians to earn a living and provide for their families.”

As of Monday morning, 5,490 patients were in the hospital statewide with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. Florida has averaged about 100 deaths every day in the last week.

In total, more than 1.2 million Floridians have gotten COVID-19, and 20,568 have died.


WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, a statewide collaborative reporting on health care.

Health reporting on WMFE is supported in part by AdventHealth.

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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

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