COVID-19 vaccine: How Florida's distribution plan differs from CDC guidelines

One week from Thursday, Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine will go before the FDA. Officials say as soon as it is approved, it will be shipped across the country in a matter of hours.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has already put in Florida's order, with his plan for the vaccine mostly lining up with CDC guidelines.

The governor's plan includes three of the four main categories recommended by the CDC, but in his distribution plan that released this week, he left out one major and very broad category – essential workers.

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"Next week we anticipate an FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine and we believe the following week will see FDA approval for the Moderna vaccine."

DeSantis says the vaccine will not be mandated, but priority will be given to long-term care facilities, then healthcare workers, followed by the 65 and up community who have pre-existing medical conditions.

He left out one very large category recommended by the CDC -- essential workers and critical industries.

The CDC defines that as any job related to healthcare operations, law enforcement, first responders, educators, food manufacturers, the agriculture industry, the energy sector, water management, transportation, public works, housing services, and the list goes on.

DeSantis says he has already applied for at least one million doses for the state once a vaccine gets the green light, but with Florida’s population over 21 million, he has to start somewhere.

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"Distributing a vaccine across a large and diverse state is a big challenge, but this is a major priority for the state of Florida.”

Refusing the COVID-19 vaccine is something long-term care facilities and loved ones are preparing for, says Carviz Carlos, an assisted living administrator.

"It’s not mandatory. So only staff and residents that actually give consent to receive the vaccine.”

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