IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Governor Ron DeSantis Provides Week Three Update of COVID-19 Vaccine Plan and Affirms Florida’s Commitment to Prioritizing Seniors 65+
Governor joined by Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner and the Palm Beach County Department of Health to kick off vaccinations for 300 senior residents at Kings Point
Delray Beach, FL (STL.News) Today, Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference at Kings Point in Delray Beach to provide an update regarding Week Three of Florida’s vaccine distribution plan. At the event, the Governor was joined by Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, Dr. Alina Alonso, Health Director of the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County, and staff and administrators from Kings Point, a community for seniors.
Exactly one week ago, on December 23, Governor DeSantis signed an executive order making it clear that the state of Florida is prioritizing seniors 65 and older, in addition to front line health care workers and residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities. In line with this priority, at the event, the Palm Beach County Department of Health began administering vaccines to 300 residents of Kings Point, all of whom are 65 years of age or older.
As of December 30, over 175,000 Floridians have received a vaccine for COVID-19 and the state is currently in its third week of vaccine administration. Florida was the first state in the nation to begin offering vaccines to staff and residents of Florida’s over 4,000 long-term care facilities and we were also the first state in the nation to begin offering vaccines to EMTs and paramedics. Florida is also now the first state in the nation to mobilize county health departments and county emergency managers to actively vaccinate seniors 65 and older in the community.
FLORIDA VACCINE UPDATE
Today, Governor DeSantis provided the following update regarding the meaningful progress the state of Florida has achieved in only its third week of vaccine administration:
Five pilot hospitals received an allocation of the Pfizer vaccine for front-line health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. At the Governor’s direction, they shared with neighboring hospitals.
The Governor directed the Florida Department of Health, Division of Emergency Management and Florida National Guard to mobilize EMS strike teams to immediately begin offering vaccines to staff and residents of long-term care facilities, to supplement Operation Warp Speed partner efforts a week ahead of schedule.
Florida offered vaccines to all staff and residents at over 100 facilities in Pinellas and Broward Counties in just 6 days.
Florida received the first shipment of the Moderna vaccine, which was immediately sent to over 170 hospitals that spanned the entire state.
The Governor also signed an executive order to give next vaccination priority to seniors over the age of 65, as well as highlighting the start of CVS and Walgreens’ administration of vaccines at long term care facilities.
Week Three (Currently Underway)
Florida is full speed ahead at vaccinating our state’s most vulnerable and is working to send vaccine to every county and nearly every hospital in the state. Next week (week 4), Florida will continue to reinforce our efforts to ensure every individual 65 and older in our state that wants a vaccine can access it.
This week, Florida is preparing to receive 127,100 doses of the Moderna vaccine. 93,900 doses of the vaccine will be distributed to the county health departments that have not previously received doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The remaining 33,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine will be sent to 54 hospitals that had not previously received the COVID-19 vaccine. With these allocations, all 67 Florida counties will have vaccine doses by the end of the week.
Florida is expecting to receive 118,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which will be used to administer the second dose at the original five pilot hospitals, and long-term care facilities in Broward and Pinellas Counties who received their first dose through Florida Department of Health and Florida National Guard strike teams.
Next week (week 4), we will also be able to begin administering the second doses to individuals that received their first dose in Week 1.
HOW SENIORS 65+ MAY ACCESS THE VACCINE IN FLORIDA
At today’s press conference, the Governor shared the following information with Florida seniors 65 and older:
For now, the COVID-19 vaccine will only be available to seniors from two sources:
county health departments in partnership with county emergency managers
Each county health department will be offering the vaccine differently to best fit the needs of their community. Some county health departments will only be offering vaccines at specific locations. Other county health departments may send teams into senior living communities. Some will employ a hybrid of the two. Your local county health department will clearly communicate how and when they will be administering the vaccine.
All county health departments have now received the vaccine. Many have begun vaccinating those 65 and older already and have set up appointments.
In addition to your county health department, you should check the websites of local hospitals to see if they have started offering vaccines to seniors in the community.
The Florida State Emergency Response Team asked hospitals to create and immediately begin executing plans to vaccinate seniors as soon as they complete vaccinating their frontline workers.
Whether you go to a county vaccination site or hospital, the COVID-19 vaccine supply is currently limited: there is not nearly enough vaccine available for the over 4 million seniors in Florida. So, we ask you to bear with us and please do not show up to a vaccination site unannounced.