Wednesday, 18 November 2020 00:14

COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Ready For Florida's Priority Recipients in December

Written by John Haughey, The Center Square


The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) plans to administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available in three phases, perhaps starting in December, with health care professionals and the most vulnerable first in line.

The FDOH’s draft distribution plan, assembled by a 43-member vaccination planning workgroup spearheaded by Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees and Deputy Secretary for Health Dr. Shamarial Roberson, incorporates lessons learned during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and in contending with last year’s surge in Hepatitis A.


The draft plan was submitted to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Oct. 16, when there were no vaccines on the cusp of approval.


Pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer announced Nov. 9 it was seeking expedited approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a vaccine after preliminary results showed it was more than 90% effective.


If Pfizer receives FDA authorization for its vaccine by month’s end, it says 15 million doses of the vaccine could be available in December.


“Prioritization of vaccine recipients is not yet determined by the CDC," Florida's draft plan read, adding Florida identified first recipients by focusing “on critical populations identified in draft guidance documents as well as locations that can accommodate the time and dosing requirements.”


The draft plan anticipated logistical hurdles in distributing the vaccine and outlined messaging strategies to contend with misinformation and skepticism.


Under the draft plan, the first vaccines would be issued to “health care personnel likely to be exposed to or treat people with COVID-19; those at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including those with underlying medical conditions; and...

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