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40,000 Floridians Get Pfizer's Vaccine In First Week -- And 367,000 Moderna Doses Coming

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The Miami Herald
Five Florida hospitals received the first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.

More than 350,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine  arrive in Florida this week, as the state’s vaccination campaign ramps up in force.

So far, the FDA has authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use: Pfizer’s vaccine, which must be stored in ultra-cold freezers, and one from Moderna. More than 40,000 Floridians have gotten the first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine since it became available, according to a state report released over the weekend.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says 367,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are coming to Florida this week. 

“The Moderna vaccine will be distributed to 173 hospital locations in 43 counties, making the vaccine accessible in every region of the state,” DeSantis said in a video released online. “As the Moderna vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage, we’re able to get it to even more hospitals throughout Florida.”

The COVID-19 vaccines are currently being offered to frontline health care workers and residents of longterm care facilities. An FDA panel is recommending essential workers and people over the age of 75 be the next groups to get vaccinated.

The vaccines could not come at a better time in Florida. The state is now averaging more than 10,805 new cases per day in the last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University analyzed by NPR. That’s an 11 percent increase over last week – bolstered by two days of nearly 13,000 new cases last week. 

DeSantis said the state will encourage vaccinations, but will not require it.

“While we encourage you to take it, we will not mandate that you do so,” DeSantis said. “I’m also continued to our state’s continued economic recovery. I’ll always protect the right of Floridians to earn a living and provide for their families.”

As of Monday morning, 5,490 patients were in the hospital statewide with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. Florida has averaged about 100 deaths every day in the last week.

In total, more than 1.2 million Floridians have gotten COVID-19, and 20,568 have died.

Copyright 2020 WMFE.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.