South Florida hospitals are awaiting some of the first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, as hospitals across the country are expected to receive the first shipments as soon as Monday morning.
The vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech won a critical endorsement Thursday from a Food and Drug Administration panel of outside advisers, and was granted emergency use from the agency the following day.
Trucks will roll out Sunday morning as shipping companies UPS and FedEx begin delivering Pfizer’s vaccine to nearly 150 distribution centers across the states, said Army Gen. Gustave Perna of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine development program. An additional 425 sites will get shipments Tuesday, and the remaining 66 on Wednesday.
Initially, about 3 million doses were expected to be shipped nationwide. It was unclear exactly who would receive the first shots, though health care workers and nursing home residents were the priority. Perna said health authorities would decide.
Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood says it will receive nearly 20,000 doses. Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami would not discuss the details of when they expected to receive the vaccine for security purposes.
The breakthrough in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic comes as the country surpasses 16 million Covid cases, with nearl 300,000 deaths.
In Florida, the state reported more than 10,500 new coronavirus cases Saturday, as the state’s virus-related death toll rose by 71.
The 10,577 new confirmed COVID-19 cases brought Florida’s total to 1,116,973, according to the daily report from the state’s department of health.