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COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives in Florida

Photo: Engin Akyurt

The first wave of coronavirus vaccinations began in Florida on Monday, with health-care workers in Tampa and Jacksonville among the first to get inoculated.

Gov. Ron DeSantis was on hand at Tampa General Hospital as the first shot there was administered to Vanessa Arroyo, a 31-year-old registered nurse.

COVID-19 vaccinations also were administered to workers at UF Health Jacksonville, and Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County.

DeSantis signed the FedEx delivery that brought about 20,000 doses to Tampa General Hospital.

“We will have shots going in arms. We will have healthcare workers getting vaccinated much sooner than anybody would have anticipated just six months ago.”

Tampa General, UF Health Jacksonville, and Memorial Healthcare each received shipments of around 20,000 doses Monday morning.

Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and AdventHealth in Orlando will receive shipments Tuesday.

Tampa General President John Couris says his staff is ready to administer the vaccine.

“This is 20,000 doses of hope. This is the beginning to the end. This is monumental, if you are sitting in our shoes caring for the patients.”

The so-called “Pfizer 5” will have around 100,000 vaccinations for front-line workers at hospitals.

Overall, Florida will receive about 180,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with tens of thousands of doses being shipped to CVS and Walgreens pharmacies that have signed an agreement with the federal government to vaccinate residents and workers at long-term care facilities.

The Florida Department of Health has 20,000 doses to supplement the CVS and Walgreens’ efforts.

While state officials and health care leaders were enthusiastic about the Pfizer vaccine finally arriving, they also cautioned it could be at least two months before COVID-19 vaccinations begin in the general population.

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