Florida gives COVID-19 vaccines after receiving 1st Pfizer batch

Florida has received COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and has already given its first doses.

FedEx and UPS filled planes and trucks with Pfizer's vaccine over the weekend to bring doses to over 600 locations across the U.S. Florida will receive nearly 180,000 doses.

Governor DeSantis confirmed during a news conference on Monday morning at Tampa General Hospital that they have received some of the first doses and will have the full first batch by Tuesday morning.

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20,000 of the nearly 180,000 doses reportedly will go to AdventHealth. Another 81,900 doses will go to CVS and Walgreens to give to patients at long-term care facilities. Then, 97,500 doses will go to five separate hospital systems.

After speaking, Governor DeSantis stood by as the first vaccination from Tampa General Hospital was given. The dose went to a frontline nurse.

While this was the first dose distributed at Tampa General Hospital, the first doses in the state are believed to have happened at UF Health in Jacksonville. They said that at 10:39 a.m., Dr. Leon L. Haley Jr. was vaccinated. He was then followed by additional physicians, nurses, a pharmacist, and other health care workers who work in the hospital.

Photo from UF Health

Gov. Ron DeSantis called the vaccine arrival a "significant milestone," adding there will be 100,000 doses total across five Florida hospitals by Tuesday. The other hospitals are in Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Hollywood.

AdventHealth confirmed to FOX 35 that they will receive its vaccines on Tuesday and will begin giving them to frontline staff on Wednesday. They will be the first hospital in Central Florida to receive doses -- approximately 20,000 of them. 

RELATED: First US COVID-19 vaccinations given as shipments arrive nationwide

Officials previously said that all of the vaccine allotments for week one are already assigned and that for next week, Florida should get more than twice as many -- between 300,000 and 500,000 vaccines. 

The rollout of the Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, ushers in the biggest vaccination effort in U.S. history — one that health officials hope the American public will embrace, even as some have voiced initial skepticism or worry. 

The first U.S. vaccination was given on Monday morning to a New York nurse.

One of the challenges for distribution is that the vaccine requires a storage temperature of negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Pfizer said that GPS-enabled sensors will help track the shipments to ensure that they stay cold and quick transport is key.

In addition, federal health officials said the first shipment of nearly three million doses will be distributed in three phases. On Monday, Pfizer's vaccine will arrive in 145 distribution centers across the country. Then an additional 425 sites on Tuesday and the remaining doses will be reaching 66 distribution centers by Wednesday.

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Doses of the vaccine, co-developed by German partner BioNTech, are given out based on each state’s adult population. Then the states decide where they go first. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis is giving priority to long-term care facilities, then healthcare workers, followed by the 65 and up community who have pre-existing medical conditions.

Senior U.S. government officials, including some White House officials who work in close proximity to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, are among those who will be offered coronavirus vaccines as soon as this week as well, two people familiar with the matter confirmed.

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A survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about half of Americans want to get the vaccine as soon as possible. Another quarter aren’t sure, while the remaining quarter say they aren’t interested. Some simply oppose vaccines in general. Others are concerned that the vaccines have been rushed and want to see how the rollout goes.

There is no word on when the vaccines will be made available to the general public. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending the vaccine for people 16 and older.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.