WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Now that Florida health workers have begun receiving doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the next step is to start vaccinating residents in long-term care facilities that could fall seriously ill if they contract the deadly respiratory virus.
Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday that he expects these efforts to begin on Wednesday. He said he would provide more details about that initiative at that time.
[TRENDING: Record-setting attractions coming to Orlando | Bacteria halts swan boats | Snake and eggs for breakfast]
“It is very, very significant that we offer vaccinations to anyone in a nursing home who wants it. Obviously, they are the most at risk of most infections, but certainly so, “said DeSantis.
Nursing homes and other similar facilities were closed to visitors in March, when COVID-19 cases first began to appear in Sunshine State. The ban was lifted in September, but the governor said mitigation efforts had reduced the quality of life for those residents.
“This has such a big impact, because of all the mitigations that are taking place, that I have not been able to have, I think, a full capacity to prosper in these months. Now we have made sure that we can have visitors and we have supported all this, but it will not be the same until we receive the vaccinations in those facilities and so we will start this process tomorrow. We have thousands of facilities in Florida, it’s not as easy as it would be in a smaller state, “said DeSantis.
About 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine Florida received this week will go to hospitals so it can inoculate its front-line workers, while another 60,000 will go to CVS and Walgreens to be administered at the hospital. long-term care. The state is also expected to receive another 20,000 doses to help with vaccination efforts in long-term care facilities.
[RELATED: Getting consent for long-term care facility patients will slow COVID-19 vaccine distribution]
Once these two target populations receive the first doses, the state will then move on to focusing on elderly residents who are not in long-term care facilities but may still develop a severe COVID-19 infection.
DeSantis believes it will not be until February that the vaccine will be available to the general public, although this depends on when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved.
“Johnson & Johnson vaccine, unlike Pfizer and Moderna, is a single dose … Johnson & Johnson is just normal refrigeration and you only take it once. This makes it easier to do on a table scale, because you can go and school districts can offer them to teachers, and once you give them a chance, you don’t have to worry about coming back, ”DeSantis said.
He expects Johnson & Johnson to apply for emergency use permits by the end of January, and if approved, the first doses will be shipped shortly thereafter.
The governor also reiterated that vaccination will not be mandatory, but believes that many florists will choose to receive the shot.
“So I think it’s something that people should be good at. At the same time, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for someone who might not take a terrible risk to say, “OK, you know, even if it was available to me, maybe I’ll wait.” I understand why someone wants to do this. Your risk is higher, I think you probably want to get it as soon as possible, ”said DeSantis.
Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.