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Duval Health Official Predicts 1st Batch Of COVID-19 Vaccine Will Arrive This Month

In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020 photo, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine lab technician processes blood samples? from volunteers taking part in testing the NIH funded Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Miami.
Taimy Alvarez
/
Associated Press
In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020 photo, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine lab technician processes blood samples? from volunteers taking part in testing the NIH funded Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Miami.";

Dr. Pauline Rolle with the Florida Department of Health in Duval County told a Jacksonville City Council committee Monday that she expects the first batch of a COVID-19 vaccine to be given out by the end of this year.

“This is a moving target," Rolle told the committee, saying her department is focused on distributing a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available. "It's all going to depend on when that first batch of vaccines is released and how already we are with regards to that. And so I anticipate as a state, we will be ready to do what needs to be done.”

Rolle said the first round of vaccines will go to hospital workers, long term care facilities, and first responders.

She added the recent uptick in cases at Duval County Public Schools is happening mainly because students and staff are catching coronavirus outside of the schools.

"A lot of folks that we interview, they know where they got COVID," Rolle said. "It was a family member who was sick and may not have known that they had COVID at the time. And so we are seeing increases in the schools. As wonderful jobs [DCPS has] done in trying to protect folks, it is inevitable as we see increases in the community, we're going to see increases in schools."

At the time of this story's publication Monday afternoon, the district was reporting 535 COVID-19 cases since the start of school in August, although Rolle said there continues to be a delay in how new cases are reported. 

Hospitalizations in the county continue to tick upward as well. As of Monday afternoon, hospitals in Duval County were treating more than 210 COVID-19 patients.

The average of five deaths per day in Duval County is the highest rate seen here since mid-October.

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.