15 South Florida Hospitals in Line to Get Moderna Vaccine Once It's Approved

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A Hialeah hospital is on the list to get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine if it gets final approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the green light from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An FDA panel of independent experts, by a 20-0 vote, endorsed the vaccine Thursday. Experts say the additional vaccine is really going to make a difference in getting protections to health care workers across South Florida.

"At the University of Miami, we have been one of the sites of the phase three clinical trial for the Moderna vaccine and we have involved a good number of participants into this trial," said Dr. Maria Alcaide with the University of Miami.

Alcaide is one of the infectious disease experts at UM who conducted the research. The technical data the FDA panel is going over Thursday shows the Moderna vaccine, like Pfizer’s, worked very well.

"What is really really incredible and really good news is that they both achieve efficacy of over 90%, which is extremely, extremely high when we talk about the effectiveness of a vaccine," Alcaide said.

Hialeah Hospital is one of the 15 in South Florida that will receive a shipment. Broward North, Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables, Homestead Hospital, Holy Cross in Fort Lauderdale and North Shore Medical Center in Miami are a few others on the governor’s list to receive Moderna once it gets the final approval.

“It is good news  because will allow people to have different options,” Alcaide said. “There will be more doses.”

Another benefit for the smaller medical facilities is not needing special freezers. The Pfizer vaccine had to be stored at 100 degrees below zero -- with Moderna, a regular medical refrigerator will do.

At Baptist, and other medical facilities who are already giving the Pfizer vaccine shots, they expect smooth sailing.

“From Moderna, it will be practically the same operation," The top pharmacist at Baptist Health, Madeline Camejo, said. "The only difference is the cold storage is less intense than it is with the Pfizer vaccine. The only difference is that instead of doing this every 21 days with Pfizer, we will be doing this every 28 days of the employee.”

Alcaide said she knows firsthand our minority community should not fear taking the vaccine.  

“We have been able to involve people who are of a diverse ethnic background and we know that COVID-19 is disproportionately affected the Black community as well as the Hispanic community,” Alcaide said.

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