DeSantis: Coronavirus vaccine should be approved soon, Floridians should take it

Gov. Ron DeSantis is encouraging, but not mandating, Floridians to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis is encouraging, but not mandating, Floridians to get the coronavirus vaccine once it becomes available.

He said he anticipates the Food and Drug Administration to approve the Pfizer vaccine next week, the Moderna vaccine the week after that, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next month.

That means the first batches could be arriving at some South Florida hospitals in just a few weeks.

“Distributing the vaccine across a large and diverse state is a big challenge, but this is a major priority for the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.

Not everyone will be able to get the vaccine right away, so in a video posted on social media, DeSantis outlined three groups that will get priority: residents of long-term care facilities; high-risk frontline health care workers; and people age 65+ and/or those with significant comorbidities.

“The Pfizer vaccine we think will be the first to arrive. It has extraordinary storage requirements and it does require two doses separated by 21 days,” the governor said.

Those extraordinary storage requirements refer to the fact that the vaccine has to be kept in arctic temperatures as low as minus-112 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Jackson Health and Memorial Healthcare systems already have the ultracool freezers necessary to store the vaccine.

These two hospital groups could be among the first to receive the vaccine if the FDA approves emergency use of it during their meeting on Dec. 10.

“There are other vaccines on the horizon,” DeSantis said. “I think one that’s very promising is the one that’s being manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. Importantly, it only requires one dose and it doesn’t require any type of special storage.”