BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Broward and Pinellas counties are serving as the two pilot Florida counties that will soon begin distributing COVID-19 vaccines to residents of skilled nursing facilities and their caretakers.
The Pfizer-BioNTech immunizations will begin being distributed as early as next week, according to a news release from the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is a sign of hope as we fight this pandemic in Florida,” said Dr. Paula Thaqi, director of the DOH-Broward. “We are still encouraging residents and visitors to take common sense precautions to protect themselves from the spread of the virus. These include frequent hand washing, wearing masks, maintaining six feet of social distancing and staying home if you are feeling sick. These precautions are more important now than ever.”
Long-term care facility residents and health care personnel are being prioritized in Phase 1 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, per the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
On Thursday, a U.S. government advisory panel endorsed widespread use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, putting the country just one step away from launching an epic vaccination campaign against the outbreak that has killed close to 300,000 Americans.
According to Friday’s news release, the third phase of the vaccine’s use in test participants demonstrated it was 95 percent effective following two doses.
Broward health officials said paramedic teams will administer the vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines from other manufacturers will be available for use at later dates as supplies reach the state.