Florida medical groups urge workers to get vaccinated

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14: Doctor Michelle Chester prepares to administer the COVID-19 vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center on December 14, 2020 in New Hyde Park on Long Island, New York. The first vaccination was administered to Registered

Two of Florida’s largest medical associations sent an open letter to front-line health care workers Tuesday lauding them for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic and urging them to get vaccinated against the virus that causes the deadly respiratory disease.

"Health care professionals like you have tirelessly served our state over the past nine months responding to an unprecedented public health crisis and coming together in extraordinary ways to help your communities," the letter from the Florida Hospital Association and the Florida Medical Association said. "Thank you for your sacrifice, compassion and selflessness throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. You all are true healthcare heroes."

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Florida on Dec. 14 began using a Pfizer Inc. vaccine and this week also received shipments of a Moderna vaccine. Gov. Ron DeSantis is relying on hospitals to play an integral role in the state’s vaccination education efforts.

To that end, the letter said hospitals and health-care professionals need to educate communities about the importance of vaccines.

The letter, signed by Florida Hospital Association President and CEO Mary Mayhew and Florida Medical Association Chief Executive Officer Tim Stapleton, encouraged front-line workers "to get the COVID-19 vaccination and share your experience with members of your community."

Florida received its first shipment of 179,400 COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine doses last week and received a second shipment of about 127,000 doses this week, DeSantis said Tuesday. The governor also said 367,000 Moderna doses arrived at 170 hospitals this week.