Vaccine Distribution At UF Health To Slow as Pharmacy, Grocery Sites Come Online

Feb 11, 2021

The CEO of UF Health Jacksonville said Thursday it may be a few weeks before his hospital  receives more doses of coronavirus vaccines. 

CEO Dr. Leon Haley said the government is prioritizing distribution at pharmacies and grocery stores, but he hopes more doses will be available soon as new kinds of vaccines are approved for use. 

“We anticipate that both the AstraZeneca and the Johnson and Johnson should come up in the next couple of weeks, that we can go back to a multi-pronged approach involving the Publix of the world, pharmacies, hospitals, and other health care communities,” Haley said. 

With lower efficacy rates but simpler distribution protocols, new vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson are expected to be approved for emergency use by the FDA by spring. 

UF Health Jacksonville was one of five hospital systems statewide to receive early allotments of the Pfizer vaccine, which it began distributing to its staff and some patients as well as people over the age of 65 according to state regulations. It is currently finishing up distribution of the 20,000 doses it was allotted in mid-December. 

Haley said about 48% of hospital staff refused the vaccine, many of them people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

But, he said, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently in circulation both have 95% efficacy rates and have been shown to have only mild side effects. 

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.