PENSACOLA, FL — Coronavirus vaccinations will only be given to long-term care facility residents and staff, people 65 and older and health care personnel with direct patient contact, according to an executive order Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Wednesday.
DeSantis held a news conference in Pensacola at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital Tuesday where he announced seniors will be the priority to receive vaccines. Florida has already administered about 70,000 vaccine shots to frontline health care workers and to long-term care facility residents/staff since Dec. 14, he said.
"For us in Florida, we're making clear in this executive order that our first priority for the general population, once the nurses, the doctors in the long-term care facilities are done, is to vaccinate people 65 and up," DeSantis said. "And that's going to be clear in the order. We also say for hospitals, regardless of age, if there is somebody that is extremely vulnerable to COVID, then obviously use your medical judgement on that."
This executive order came the same day the Florida Department of Health reported 11,384 new positive coronavirus cases that since the pandemic began are up to 1,234,399. Statewide hospitalizations are 60,800, and coronavirus-related deaths are 21,173.
Pinellas County has 41,654 positive cases, according to the FDOH. Hillsborough has 71,957 cases; Polk has 34,349 cases; Pasco has 20,164 cases; Sarasota has 17,299 cases; Manatee has 20,822,cases; and Dade has 280,982 cases.
DeSantis said that the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccinations will be given to the county health departments at a limited supply, and health officials plan to administer doses to people 65 and older by Monday. Residents in this age group will have priority over healthcare workers who are younger than 65.
A healthcare worker at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital who spoke at the news conference said that the health center received the Moderna vaccine on Monday, and by Tuesday they vaccinated more than 700 health care workers.