COVID-19 vaccine

Alachua County hospitals and long-term care facilities may be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in mid-December, according to the Alachua County Department of Health.

FDOH Administrator Paul Myers said on Tues. Nov. 24th that, "The exact distribution methodology is currently being developed."

Last week, the Jackson Health System in Miami announced that it is preparing for a mid-December delivery of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

JHS Spokesperson Tania Leets released the following statement. "Jackson Health System is among the hospitals working closely with the Florida Department of Health to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

"We completed the proper registration to be eligible for participation in the Florida Shots Program. We expect to receive a limited supply of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in mid-December and are prepared with the proper storage to begin immediate distribution.

"We have purchased equipment, such as ultra-cold freezers, to ensure we have capacity to safely store the vaccine. During the first phase, the vaccine will be available for frontline healthcare workers in hospitals, long-term care staff and residents, and first responders."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reported that, "The State of Florida has been working to procure the new treatment for our hospitals but also made plans to assist in the distribution of a safe and effective vaccine."

The vaccine could be made available across Florida within three to six weeks.

As of noon on Nov. 24th the Florida COVID-19 Dashboard reports 944,745 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and a range in daily cases from 2,669 on Nov. 1st to 9,894 cases reported two weeks later on Nov. 14th.  The most recent reported daily total on Nov. 22 in the State is 6,080.

As of Nov. 24th, Alachua County has 12,395 cumulative cases, 605 hospitalizations and 97 deaths.

In contrast Dade County has 216,442 cumulative cases, 8,452 hospitalizations and 3,782 deaths.

UF Health is waiting to hear about vaccine distribution to its hospitals in North and Central Florida hospitals.

On Nov. 24th UF Health responded to inquiries about when the COVID-19 vaccine might be distributed in Alachua County hospitals and other UF Health hospitals in North Florida.

"Details of how and when the vaccine will be distributed and who will receive any initial doses are still being worked out at the state and federal levels, although it's our understanding that front-line health care workers will be among the first eligible to receive them," the statement says.

"We do not yet have details of what this will mean for UF Health and our hospitals in Gainesville, Jacksonville, The Villages and Leesburg and hope to learn more within the next few weeks. We look forward to sharing more information with the communities we serve as it becomes available."

Mainstreet Daily News Reporter

Suzette Cook is a Mainstreet Daily News reporter who has been a community journalist for more than 30 years.

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