TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - This week, people in the Tampa area are receiving the first round of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis visited Tampa General Hospital to announce the delivery of about 20,000 doses. The vaccines will start at Tampa General Hospital, being given to healthcare workers. Then, Governor DeSantis says, other hospitals nearby will receive the vaccines left over. "This is our magic - Neil Armstrong moment," said Dr. Charles Lockwood with Tampa General Hospital. President and CEO of Tampa General Hospital, John Couris says the hospital is prepared for the deliveries. "Tampa General Hospital has the resources, the staff, the supplies, now has the vaccine. We are ready and it's absolutely game time."
Governor DeSantis echoed the importance of this moment, "This is a really significant milestone in terms of combatting the Coronavirus," said Governor DeSantis. One of the first people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the state of Florida is a Tampa General Hospital nurse, named Vanessa Arroyo. "This is a game-changer. It's a great day for the United States. It's a great day for the state of Florida," said DeSantis.
Tampa General isn't the only location that received the first round of vaccines on Monday. DeSantis says "They've also been received at Broward Memorial, UF Shands in Jacksonville. Tomorrow, Jackson Memorial in Miami will receive its shipment, as well as AdventHealth in Orlando." He estimates about 100,000 vaccines will be shipped across Florida this week, and next week. DeSantis anticipates about 360,000 vaccines from Moderna, adding "We'll hopefully be receiving those Sunday, Monday, Tuesday."
Thomas Lovino with Pinellas County Health Department says some of those vaccines will be delivered to Pinellas County later this week. "It's primarily going to be involved in the effort to coordinate giving to the long term care facilities, whereas the hospitals will make sure their staff if immunized." While Lovino says getting the vaccines is a step in the right direction, the battle against COVID-19 is not over. "While this is a great first step, we still have to remember to keep those standard precautions in place. We have to continue wearing the masks, washing hands and maintaining that social distance," said Lovino.
Governor Ron DeSantis says about 60,000 vaccines are also being distributed to CVSs and Walgreens across the state this week. He also stated over the next few months, we should see hundreds of thousands of vaccines given to health care workers and people on the front lines.
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