Hospitals across state to get next vaccine batch

Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccines are ready at Jackson Memorial Hospital, in Miami, Florida on December 15, 2020. (Photo by Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / AFP) (Photo by EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP via Getty Images)

About 180 Florida hospitals across the state will have access to COVID-19 vaccines as of next week, Florida’s emergency management chief said Tuesday.

Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said five hospitals that received delivery of a Pfizer vaccine Monday and Tuesday have reached agreements to share the vaccine with 25 neighboring facilities, usually their competitors. That means 30 Florida hospitals will have access to the Pfizer vaccine this week.

Separately, more than another 150 facilities have been registered in a federal system for delivery of a yet-to-be-approved vaccine manufactured by Moderna. If approved Friday as expected, the Moderna vaccine could be at the 150 hospitals next week.

As of Tuesday Moskowitz said there was no indication in a federal tracking system that a second round of the Pfizer vaccine was slated to be delivered to the state next week.

“The first week we got Pfizer, the second week it appears we are only getting Moderna,” Moskowitz said, adding that nothing has been confirmed for the third week.

Five hospitals --- UF Health Jacksonville, Tampa General Hospital, AdventHealth in Orlando, Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County, and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami --- received their vaccine shipments this week and began inoculating front-line health care workers. 

Meanwhile, in a statewide phone call with health department officials, hospitals across the state on Tuesday were clamoring for information about the next shipments of COVID-19 vaccines and whether their facilities would be on the delivery list next week. 

Hospitals also pressed state officials about which vaccine they would receive --- the Pfizer vaccine, which requires extremely cold storage, the Moderna vaccine candidate, or both.

For now, Moskowitz said the goal is to keep the vaccine supply bifurcated, with hospitals receiving either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine. But he said that also will be dependent on the production of the vaccines.

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“Until we see the ramping up of production it’s hard to make any definitive statements because we may have to make decisions on the fly depending on what we receive when,” he said.

Overall, Florida received about 180,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, with the five hospitals receiving about 100,000 and CVS and Walgreens pharmacies receiving tens of thousands more. CVS and Walgreens have signed an agreement with the federal government to vaccinate residents and workers at long-term care facilities. The Florida Department of Health has 20,000 doses to supplement the CVS and Walgreens efforts.

DeSantis said Monday he expects Florida to receive about 365,000 Moderna doses after the vaccine receives emergency authorization, which is expected Friday. 

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To keep track of the vaccines, the state on Tuesday issued an emergency rule that requires all  COVID-19 vaccine providers to report information to the state, including information about the race and ethnicity of people being vaccinated and the names of the facilities where they were vaccinated.

The emergency rule requires that the information be reported to the state within 24 hours, but Department of Health Secretary Scott Rivkees said officials would prefer the information to be reported in real-time as part of tracking efforts.


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