Long-term care residents will be among first to be offered COVID-19 vaccine

Long-term care residents and front line workers will be among the first to be offered the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s approved, which may be as early as next week.

 

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Governor Ron DeSantis said 3,000 of the state’s 4,000 long-term care centers have already signed up for the residents to receive the vaccine once it is approved for emergency use by the FDA.

“Our goal will be to provide vaccines to every resident of long-term care facilities throughout the state,” DeSantis said in a video update. “And in Florida, we are going to set priorities focusing on specifically those most vulnerable, elderly residents in long-term care facilities, as well as our frontline health care workers who are interacting with vulnerable patients day in and day out.”

The Florida Health Care Association, which represents 700 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state, applauded the decision.

DeSantis’ commitment to prioritize our residents and caregivers for the first distribution of the COVID vaccine, combined with a similar decision by the CDC’s APIC, will provide another strong line of defense to protect Florida’s most vulnerable residents from this deadly virus,” Emmett Reed, executive director of FHCA, said in a statement. “We are optimistic about the plans to distribute and administer the vaccine quickly to our residents and staff. Nothing like this has ever been done before, but we believe the partnership that has been developed among our federal and state governments, CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate long-term care residents and staff is the best approach to limit the spread of COVID and prevent further tragedies.”

The Florida Department of Health reported 10,177 new coronavirus cases on Dec. 3. The state became the third state to report more than 1 million positive tests since the beginning of the pandemic behind California and Texas. To put that in context, Florida — with a population of 21.6 million — is also the third most populous state behind California and Texas. It ranks 24th in country for cases per population and 16th for deaths per population, according to the site worldometer.com.