DeSantis: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Could Arrive In Jacksonville Next Week

Dec 17, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced the initial distribution plan for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, assuming it's approved. A key FDA panel is meeting Thursday to consider recommending the vaccine’s approval.

Florida is prepared to receive 367,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week, assuming an Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

If that happens, the first Florida deliveries of Moderna’s vaccine will be distributed to 173 hospitals that did not receive doses in the first allocation of the Pfizer vaccine this week.

In Jacksonville, Baptist Medical Center and Memorial Hospital are set to be the first to receive the Moderna vaccine.

Memorial Hospital also announced Thursday it has received its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine. It is already being administered to front line healthcare workers at the hospital, including nurses, physicians and clinical staff.

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

A shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine being administered Thursday morning is pictured at Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville.
Credit Memorial Hospital

On Tuesday, the FDA released its analysis of the Moderna vaccine, along with an information packet from Moderna. The agency found the vaccine to be 94% effective and to have a "favorable safety profile" that raises "no specific safety concerns identified that would preclude issuance of an [emergency use authorization]."

Some side effects were common in the main clinical trial of the Moderna vaccine. Most everyone experienced pain at the injection site — 92%. Other common reactions included fatigue (69%), headache (63%) and muscle pain (60%). The trial included more than 30,000 people, half who received two shots of vaccine and half who received two shots of placebo a month apart.

The Florida governor’s office said Wednesday the Moderna vaccine can be distributed to a larger number of hospitals than the Pfizer vaccine because it does not require ultra-cold storage.

Five hospitals - UF Health Jacksonville, Tampa General Hospital, AdventHealth in Orlando, Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami - received their first Pfizer vaccine shipments this week and began inoculating front-line health care workers and other hospital staff.

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Overall, Florida received about 180,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, with the five hospitals receiving about 100,000 and CVS and Walgreens pharmacies receiving tens of thousands more. CVS and Walgreens have signed an agreement with the federal government to vaccinate residents and workers at long-term care facilities. The Florida Department of Health has 20,000 doses to supplement the pharmacy chains' efforts.

Here's the full list of Florida hospitals scheduled to receive the Moderna vaccine next week if it is approved.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.