‘A Herculean Effort': Miami-Dade and Broward Pulling Out All the Stops for Vaccine

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South Florida health administrators say they are ready to go when they are delivered the Pfizer Covid vaccine.

Both Miami-Dade and Broward said they are pulling out all the stops to make sure they are ready to hit the ground running when the vaccine does arrive and in Broward, the Florida National Guard will play a crucial role in delivering those shots at nursing homes.

The super cold storage freezers are empty now, but South Florida health administrators say that won’t be the case for long. They expect the vaccine to arrive as soon as Sunday or Monday.

“It’s really been a Herculean effort to get things lined up,” said Jackson Health System’s Dr. Peter Paige.

Paige was just appointed by Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava as the county’s Chief Medical Officer.

Paige said JMH has a huge logistical operation underway to store the Pfizer vaccine and get the shots out to the heath care workers treating Covid patients.

“Obviously, our effort is to prioritize the frontline staff. They are at the highest risk and have been at the highest risk and so scheduling those vaccination programs over the course of Monday through Friday, Saturday, Sunday, all in an effort to get as many people vaccinated quickly as possible,” he said.

Jackson and Memorial Regional in Hollywood will be given more than 19,000 doses each. They're the first hospitals in the region to receive the vaccine.

Walgreens and CVS stores in Florida will be given more than 60,000 doses and their job will be for their workers to get to nursing homes in Miami-Dade and Monroe County.

A massive distribution plan is set to kick into place as soon as the FDA issues an emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave more details on the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine across the state.

“My goal after the long-term care facilities in terms of the hospital workers would be getting out to the elderly and the senior populations. That’s where most of the risk is and if we are able to do that it's going be able to really reduce mortality and morbidity," DeSantis said.

Dr. Paula Thaqi, the Director of Heath for Broward County, said they're ready to begin as soon as the vaccine arrives.

When it comes to Broward and its nursing homes, the health department is teaming up with the Florida National Guard to get out the 10,000 doses they will have under a pilot program. Guardsmen from early on in the pandemic have been part of the Covid testing operation.

"We will work with partners with the Florida National Guard and paramedics to provide the vaccination on a voluntary basis in all 35 skilled nursing facilities in Broward County," Thaqi said.

On Sunday, a CDC committee makes its recommendation on who exactly can get the vaccine and how it would be administered. The Army General in charge of getting the vaccine from the Pfizer plant in Michigan to South Florida and around the country said he will have the vaccine in the sky and on the road within 24 hours of him getting the green light.

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