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Florida plans to ration the first distribution of COVID-19 vaccine



According to a draft report from the Florida Department of Health, when the first long-awaited coronavirus vaccine arrived in the state, there were approximately 3.5 million Floridians (mainly medical service providers, vulnerable medical personnel and first responders). Will be given priority.

Will the state still get that many doses? If not, who will decide the first dose? These are some of the many unresolved issues in the state as early as December preparing for the first vaccine delivery.

On Monday, after preliminary and incomplete results showed that the effective rate of its coronavirus vaccine was 90%, Pfizer announced that it would seek rapid approval from the Food and Drug Administration to protect the vaccine against the deadly COVID- 1

9 viruses.

The next major task will be to overcome logistics barriers, first to provide vaccines to those who need it most, and then to overcome public distrust and suspicion of the politicization process during the presidential election.

According to the draft vaccine distribution report submitted by the Florida Department of Health to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on October 16, the state will release the vaccine in three parts when it becomes available.

Three phase

The first round will go to “healthcare workers who may be exposed to or treat COVID-19; those at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, including those with basic health conditions; and other basic workers.” The report said . The state has an estimated 497,000 licensed healthcare professionals.

The next grant will be allocated to 223,000 employees and 145,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The second round will also involve people with vulnerable diseases, which may include 2.7 million people. The final release, Phase 3, will involve other members of the public. Only after more vaccines are obtained, the state will plan to establish mass vaccination clinics.

Gail Matillo, president of the Florida Senior Living Association, said: “It will take months or even longer to complete this work.” The organization’s membership includes assisted living and memory care facilities. It is a working group organized by the Florida Department of Health, one of several medical organizations included in the vaccine distribution.

Although Pfizer said the first batch of drugs will cover 15 million Americans, it is not yet known how many doses will be received in Florida, so the state must design a dosing system whose standards have not yet been announced.

Steve Bahmer, president of LeadingAge Florida, member of the Long-Term Care Community Association, and working group member, said: “It is important to have a clear plan around priorities.” “The ultimate goal is to provide enough doses for everyone until we get there. A clear plan to determine how the available dose will be allocated.”

The first batch of recipients will “focus on the key populations identified in the draft guidance document and the locations that can accommodate time and dose requirements.” The draft said.

Pfizer vaccine has some unique conditions: it requires every person who vaccinates to inject the vaccine two weeks apart, and the product is stored in the super cold storage at -80 degrees Celsius, which is four times lower than the cold storage temperature of the ordinary residential freezer.

Bachmer said: “There are still many questions about when and when to provide vaccines. The goal of the working group is to build the infrastructure so that when ready, our members can provide vaccines.” Know how many doses will be available in Florida , Obviously this is still a problem. “

The report pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the final say on who is the first. “The priority of vaccinators has not yet been determined by the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).”

The Florida Department of Health said that it is investigating hospitals to understand which hospitals can cope with the required ultra-cold conditions and requires hospitals to participate in its existing vaccination program, which is Florida SHOTS.

The draft report states that 274 of the 314 hospitals in Florida have joined SHOTS in Florida.

The report states: “The initial facility that was determined to meet these two requirements was the hospital, because most hospitals have a large number of employees and have a certain level of ultra-cold storage capacity. Once additional federal guidance is received, further priorities will be determined . Be made.”

Super cold condition

Florida Hospital Association (FHA) spokesperson Monica Corbett (Monica Corbett) said that the federal government has signed a contract with medical provider McKesson to coordinate the delivery of all COVID-19 vaccines, but Pfizer has chosen Handle distribution and transportation by yourself.

Corbett said: “Pfizer has developed packaging materials that can use granular dry ice to keep the vaccine at a temperature for up to 10 days. (Florida Hospital Association) is coordinating with (the Department of Health) to safely ship and store vaccines if available. .”

Corbett said the hospital is working to determine which essential workers will receive the vaccine first. The Florida Hospital Association also plans to work with state health officials to “openly exchange information about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.”

The federal government has also contracted with Walgreens and CVS to provide on-site vaccine clinics in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and concentrated care communities across the country. Florida facilities are being asked to sign contracts with pharmacy partners.

Several healthcare providers said that the vaccine is currently expected to be a voluntary vaccine for long-term care residents and hospital patients, but regulators can require all healthcare workers to be vaccinated as part of their licensing requirements.

Just as schools require students to be vaccinated, some nursing homes and other high-level centers may also require vaccinations as a condition for future admission.

Do you need a vaccine?

Jason Hand, vice president of public affairs for the Florida Senior Living Association, said many providers are cautious about preliminary information that the vaccine is effective and reliable.

He said: “The community has raised a lot of questions, and their response is:’We have to wait until the trial is complete to see more data.'”

The report stated that the state is considering operating vaccination sites managed by the state by the county health department to “complement vaccination efforts and improve the capacity of the community environment.”

Community health clinics will also be deployed to provide vaccination services, and “because of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority groups, minority populations will also be the focus of these efforts.”

The report stated that “GIS mapping of the provider’s location is used to identify areas where other providers need to be recruited”, especially among the elderly and other vulnerable groups in the family.

The lowest priority among vaccines may be young children, who will receive the vaccine in the routine vaccination schedule. The Florida report said: “This method of administration depends on smaller dose vials that allow clinics to vaccinate in a routine patient care setting.”

Months away

Although during the political campaign, officials promised to be vaccinated by the end of October, Florida has started to increase for a while. In September, Florida officials announced that they were preparing to distribute 5 million doses of vaccine by the end of October and had purchased 5 million syringes and 5 million alcohol swabs for preparation.

Only another company called Moderna is producing a vaccine candidate, and the vaccine has passed an effective phase III clinical trial. Its products also require extremely cold transportation and storage conditions.

It may take several months before the vaccine is widely used, and the demand for vaccines will stabilize. The report pointed out that once this happens, “the country will transition to the provision of vaccines through the conventional healthcare delivery system (including commercial pharmacies)”.

This week, many healthcare providers were interviewed, and they said that in challenging times, the progress of vaccines is a signal of hope.

Veronica Catoe, a member of the Florida Assisted Living Association, said: “If they want to receive it, they can quickly obtain a safe and effective vaccine to protect our population from COVID-19. We are very excited.” The combination of wearing a mask will be an important step towards controlling the widespread impact that has damaged our communities and the pandemic-related economy.”

Before then, many healthcare providers said they had no plans to abandon their plans to try to stop the coronavirus mitigation measures.

LeadingAge’s Bahmer said: “We are all still waiting for vaccines and widely used treatments. At the same time, our members continue to talk about screening and testing, and [personal protective equipment] All protocols for usage and prevention procedures. “

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