With two coronavirus vaccines on the horizon, health officials around the U.S. already have plans in place to distribute the vaccine as soon and as widely as possible.
While the exact date of when that will happen is unknown, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a temporary plan for every state, including Florida, for when the medicine is ready.
A draft of the CDC COVID-19 vaccine plan for Florida shows distribution will require partnerships between the Florida Department of Health, health care providers and community organizations.
The Florida DOH already has a distribution plan in place and local governments have been stocking up on refrigeration equipment and other supplies to be prepared to administer the shots.
The CDC plan outlines the vaccine will be administered in phases, due to the limited supply when it first becomes available. Doses will be distributed to facilities that can meet the vaccine storage requirements, such as ultra-cold storage, first and then expand to other priority groups within a closed point of distribution. These sites will provide doses to the priority groups established by the CDC.
As more doses become available, traditional places where vaccine shots are given, such as primary care doctors, pediatricians and pharmacies, will receive doses.
The DOH will coordinate with the Florida Division of Emergency Management to establish distribution to clinics, using a similar model to COVID-19 testing kit distribution.
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Using Florida’s state immunization information system or IIS, known as SHOTS, the state and CDC has established which providers can be designated to receive the vaccine when it’s still available in limited quality. The SHOTS system, which has contact information for vaccine recipients, will also be used to notify patients when they need to return for a second dose. The DOH is planning text, mail or email reminders.