JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Eleven months after the earliest registered case of coronavirus in the US, the first 10,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived at UF Health Jacksonville on Monday morning, and the first 10 shots were quickly given to emergency rooms and critical care workers, including the CEO of the medical center.
Pfizer’s Michigan-based COVID19 vaccine shipment arrived at around 9:15 a.m. Jacksonville’s vaccine supplies have been shipped in freezer packs along with 3 million other vials for delivery across the country.
After CEO Leon Haley, who is also an emergency doctor, received the first shot, the employees who had gathered around the vaccination station in the lobby cheered.
“This is a humble moment,” said Haley. “This is just the beginning of a long struggle. We still have to wear our masks. We still have to wash our hands. “
Haley was followed by other doctors, nurses, a pharmacist, and other frontline workers who work the most closely with COVID-19 patients. All were asked to speak in a holding area for 15 minutes to monitor for possible side effects, although none were expected.
“In a word, (I was) honored,” said Dr. David Vukick. “I just want people to understand that it’s safe.”
Sister Danielle Parker was overwhelmed with emotion after her shot after seeing what this virus did to her patients.
“Getting back to normal and potentially preventing some people from becoming infected,” said Parker. “I’ve worked with these patients for so long and I can see what it can do.”
On Tuesday, 100 more doses will be given to employees at the highest risk, and then more vaccines will be given each day until all frontline workers are vaccinated. Staff are not required but are “very encouraged” to receive the vaccine.
When asked what he will do first after receiving both doses of the Wayne Phillips vaccine, he works in IT at UF Health and said he wanted to go out to eat.
“I miss eating in public. I go to a restaurant for a nice meal and I hug my mother. I haven’t hugged my mom in a long time, ”said Phillips.
UF Health expects another 10,000 doses on Tuesday and will also ship some of the vaccine to other hospitals in the area. Baptist Health told News4Jax that its employees are expected to receive their vaccines next week.
The state is working to bring other vaccines to residents and long-term care workers as part of the initial introduction of the vaccine.
CDC says race and ethnicity are risk markers
African Americans are four times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 infection than white Americans, according to the CDC. And the COVID-19 death rate is twice as high among blacks as it is among whites.
News4Jax spoke to African Americans in Jacksonville about the new vaccine, who had mixed feelings about the shot.
“With the speed a lot of us are going through, I think we need it,” said Andre Williams.
“I’m going to take it, but I’m not saying I’ll be the first person to get it,” said Lindsey Brookins.
“I don’t think a lot of African Americans will take it,” said Kimberly Fuller. “Personally, I don’t like to put something in my body and I don’t know exactly what it is.”
Community activist Ben Frazier said many African Americans may not readily trust the vaccine. He referred to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
“I think the experiments that have been done against black people in the past on syphilis and Tuskegee Airmen would be the reason so many people hesitate, hesitate, or feel hesitant about taking this vaccine,” he said.
The first shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine came from Michigan on Sunday morning. The first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine will be staggered, arriving at 145 distribution centers on Monday, according to the Associated Press. Another 425 locations will receive deliveries Tuesday and the remaining 66 on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
Additional broadcasts are sent out to the state every one to two weeks. It is expected that there will be limited supply in the first few weeks.
Florida, which has recorded 20,000 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began on Saturday, is expected to receive more than 179,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the first shipment.
Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis said the Sunshine State will receive 180,000 cans. Five of Florida’s largest health systems, including UF Health in Jacksonville, are receiving 100,000 doses. It is not clear whether the doses were evenly divided between the hospitals.
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