Governor Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that individual counties in Florida would be taking the lead in distributing the coronavirus vaccine, with the federal government sending the vaccines to hospitals and facilities determined by the state.
"Some county health departments will deploy teams to senior communities, like we see here in Palm Beach County at Kings Point. Some county health departments will be offering vaccines at a specific location, some will employ a hybrid of the two; either way the county health departments will be communicating how and when they will administering vaccine to seniors in counties," the governor said.
DeSantis says he expects most counties to get more of the recently approved Moderna vaccine by early next week.
The governor made the announcement at a South Florida stop on Wednesday while hospitals in the area begin the process of giving the much sought COVID vaccine to members of the public.
DeSantis spoke at an event held at the Kings Point complex in Delray Beach, where 300 residents were given the vaccine and others are hoping to become some who will receive the vaccine once it's available to the general public.
The Department of Health in Broward County announced Wednesday it would begin giving vaccinations to residents ages 65 and older starting Sunday. Residents can register by clicking on this link, but are advised that appointments are limited at this time.
“We are excited about the opportunity to begin vaccinating our senior population, who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, as we continue to work every day to protect our community during this pandemic.” said Dr. Paula Thaqi, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.
"It cuts out the middle man. We're basically trying to figure out how this can be the best force multiplier," DeSantis said. "We view our hospitals as our best assets. They've performed well during the pandemic."
Last week, DeSantis announced priority would be given to residents ages 65 and older to get the vaccine once it's made available to the public.
"We're pleased with some of the headway we've been able to take," DeSantis said at the news conference.where he was joined by Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, who defended the decision to give elderly members priority.
"Those who are part of the 'greatest generation' deserve to be the ones protected first," Kerner said.
"These are people who survived World War II, survived the Holocaust...these are the people we need to stand with," DeSantis added.
Broward Health announced it would start giving the COVID-19 vaccine to certain members of the public starting Wednesday, but later said those reservations are filled through February.
Eligible members of the community must call Broward Health's Nurse Connect line at 954-759-7500 to schedule an appointment. Broward Health aims to vaccinate 15-20 people per hour, which will add up to around 150 people per day.
“This is monumental and reaches a milestone in this pandemic that we can offer the vaccine to our citizens who meet criteria," said Dr. Aldo Calvo, Medical Director of Ambulatory Services.
Cleveland Clinic announced they would also give vaccines to members of the public who meet certain criteria, including being ages 65 or older as well as first responders and those with high risk medical conditions. For more information on how to schedule an appointment, call 954-659-5950.
Jackson Health in Miami-Dade announced they would start giving the vaccine to members of the public ages 65 and older starting this week before releasing an online platform next week allowing residents to request an appointment.
Note: Websites and hotlines are experiencing intermittent outages due to overwhelming response for the COVID-19 vaccine. Please check websites periodically for updates.