coronavirus pandemic

Florida Vaccine Update: FDA Panel Endorses J&J Shot; Broward Health Expands Eligibility

Here's what we know today about the coronavirus outbreak in Florida, and the effort to stop it

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As a limited supply of the coronavirus vaccine has become available across Florida, residents are understandably anxious to know when they will be able to stand in line for a dose.

One of the state's supermarket giants will soon be bringing the vaccine to pharmacies in South Florida's two biggest counties while Florida could start lowering their age requirement in the coming weeks.

Here's what we know today about the coronavirus outbreak in Florida, and the effort to stop it.

FDA Panel Unanimously Recommends J&J Vaccine

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday backed Johnson & Johnson's single-shot coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

The recommendation is a critical step paving the way to distribute a third preventative treatment in the U.S. next week.

The nonbinding decision, which was adopted 22-0, by the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, comes as the Biden administration works to ramp up the supply of vaccine doses and get Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible. 

More here.

Florida Adds 5,922 New COVID-19 Cases Friday, as State Reports Over 140 More Deaths

Florida reported more than 5,900 new COVID-19 cases Friday, as the state's virus-related death toll increased by more than 140.

The 5,922 new confirmed COVID-19 cases brought Florida's total to 1,898,223 since the outbreak began.

Another 146 virus-related deaths among Florida residents were reported Friday, bringing the total to 30,624. An additional 538 non-resident deaths have been confirmed in the state to-date. Most of the newly confirmed deaths occurred days or weeks earlier.

The positivity rate for new cases in the state was 5.18% in Friday's department of health coronavirus report, the third straight day it has been below 6%.

Broward Health Offering Vaccines to High-Risk People Ages 18+

Broward Health announced Friday that it has opened up COVID-19 vaccine appointments for at-risk individuals ages 18 and over.

People who fit the age requirement must also meet one of the high-risk groups based on CDC guidelines.

More here.

Slots Filled for Publix Locations Offering Vaccines at Miami-Dade, Broward

Appointments for the coveted COVID-19 vaccine at Publix locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties filled up shortly after opening Friday.

Publix will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine at 136 pharmacies in Miami-Dade and Broward counties beginning March 1. People 65 and over are eligible for a vaccine and could schedule an appointment at Slots filled up quickly on the online portal after it opened Friday.

The supermarket company announced vaccination appointments will be available at all 730 pharmacies in the state. The online reservation system typically opens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, but appointments may not be available in every county during every scheduling opportunity.  

New Vaccination Sites Open in Underserved Areas in Miami-Dade, Broward

Six new COVID-19 vaccination sites including two in Miami-Dade and one in Broward will be opening to bring doses to some of Florida's underserved communities, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday.

Each of the six sites will be open seven days a week starting Thursday and will offer about 200 shots per day, DeSantis said at a news conference in Jacksonville.

Click here for a complete list of locations.

Florida Will Likely Expand Vaccine Eligibility to People Under 65 in March: DeSantis

Florida will likely be offering COVID-19 vaccines to people under 65 at some point next month, DeSantis said.

"I would say, without question, barring any problems with the vaccine distribution, you’re going to see the age lower at some time in March for sure," DeSantis said at a news conference in Jacksonville. "As soon as we have the metrics to justify it, we're gonna let people know."

Florida has been making vaccines available to only frontline healthcare workers and people 65 and older since distribution began in December.

Critics Question Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Readiness as Claims Come In

As millions of Americans roll up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine, the I-Team at NBC affiliate WRC-TV has learned that coronavirus-related claims are already being filed in a federal program to compensate those who suffer severe injuries or reactions. But the agency that runs the program has refused to say how many or what those injuries are.

"It's always been so secretive, and I don't know why," said Peter Meyers, former director of The George Washington University Law School's Vaccine Injury Litigation Clinic.

Meyers worries the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) is unprepared to handle a pandemic and vaccine of this magnitude. In the past, it's only been used for things like H1N1 and smallpox — nothing that's affected the entire population.

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