Governor to hospitals: Use the COVID shots or lose them

“The light’s at the end of the tunnel,” DeSantis said during a news conference in Orlando

Per AP:

As seniors lined up at coronavirus vaccination sites and frustrations mounted over their inability to make appointments for life-saving injections, Gov. Ron DeSantis warned hospitals against stockpiling vaccinations and urged them to work more quickly to administer vaccines to Floridians who are 65 and older.

“The light’s at the end of the tunnel,” DeSantis said during a news conference in Orlando on Monday, adding that hospitals that don’t meet vaccination goals will see their allotment of vaccines reduced and redistributed to other providers.

“I do not want to see a vaccine sitting around not being used when you could be putting a shot in an arm,” he said.

Meanwhile, the first five Florida hospitals to start inoculating their frontline workers three weeks ago began administering booster shots this week to those same employees.

As of Monday, more than 260,000 Floridians had been vaccinated, most of them health care workers and first responders — although an increasing number are seniors 65 years and older, whom the governor has made a key demographic for vaccinations.

The state has received more than 960,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — which means that 700,000 doses are sitting in freezers waiting to be injected into the arms of Floridians.

Both vaccines require two doses — an initial inoculation and a booster shot weeks later. Some hospitals, out of caution, may be reluctant to immediately use their entire stockpile because of uncertainty over the future supply of the vaccines.

About 83% of those who have died from the disease in Florida have been older than 65.

Florida has one of the nation’s oldest populations with 4.4 million of the state’s 21 million people 65 years or older.

The governor spoke at Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital, where 4,000 people were expected to be vaccinated by day’s end.

DeSantis has ordered hospitals to inform state officials how they plan to offer vaccinations to the public.

Mary Mayhew, chief executive officer of the Florida Hospital Association, said the state’s hospitals were “working tirelessly” to serve the community and roll out the vaccinations.

“Hospitals are absolutely committed to efficiently administering the vaccines,” Mayhew said, noting that “the vast majority of the vaccine just arrived within the last week and a half prior to two holidays.”

During both news conferences, DeSantis asserted that 80% of the doses delivered to the state thus far have been sent to hospitals, but his office later clarified that the governor was referring to the state’s initial shipment of the Pfizer vaccine. The state has since received hundreds of thousands of additional doses and only half the vaccines received to date have gone to hospitals.

Some of the additional doses received by hospitals will be used for the second round of shots, which is required for the inoculations to achieve the highest level of efficacy.

During DeSantis’ news conference in Miami, Carlos Migoya, the president and CEO of Jackson Health System, said some hospital workers — the first of about 5,000 associated with the Miami-based health care system — began receiving their booster shots on Monday.

“The focus right now has been health care workers and people over 65. Once we get to a big percentage of those ... we’ll open it to the next at-risk population,” Migoya said.

“We are giving the vaccine as fast as we get it. We’re not holding back any vaccine because the supply is coming,” he said.

During his news conferences, DeSantis said he intends to convert some COVID-19 testing sites to vaccination sites, recruit places of worship in underserved communities to help vaccinate seniors of color and hire 1,000 more nurses to help with injections.

11 months, 3 weeks ago

Governors in Iowa, North Dakota and Alabama join GOP colleagues in banning TikTok for state employees

The Republican governors of three more states have joined the growing number of GOP governors who are banning TikTok among state government employees amid security concerns about the Chinese-owned social media platform

11 months, 4 weeks ago

Arizona Governor Creates Shipping Container Border Wall

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has had hundreds of double-stacked shipping containers topped with razor wire placed on the state’s border with Mexico

12 months ago

Stacey Abrams’s Georgia Nonprofit Could Face Criminal Investigations for Unlicensed Fundraising

New Georgia Project's charity license has lapsed in at least nine states

12 months ago

Biden says ‘more important things’ than border visit, despite 59 trips to Delaware, 8 stops for ice cream

Biden has yet to visit southern border despite historic crisis under his watch

12 months ago

Governor Kristi Noem delivers annual Budget Address, says the state can afford grocery tax cut

In about thirty minutes of remarks, Governor Kristi Noem laid out her administration would like to see nearly $2.2 billion spent over the course of the next fiscal year and a half.

1 year ago

‘A Clear And Present Danger To Its Users:’ South Carolina Gov. Bans State Employees From Using TikTok Amid National Security Concerns

South Carolina became the second state in the union Monday to permanently ban state employees’ electronic devices from using TikTok amid federal officials sounding the alarm that the Chinese-based social media app threatens national security