ORLANDO, Fla. – An infectious disease expert answered questions about the development of COVID-19 vaccines during AdventHealth’s weekly briefing on Thursday.
As many are anxiously awaiting Food and Drug Administration approval for emergency use of a vaccine, Dr. Victor Herrera said healthcare workers have been preparing for distribution, which could happen before the end of the month.
AdventHealth Orlando has been selected as one of five hospitals in the state to first store and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
“The goal is going to be to vaccinate the whole community and the whole population. That’s going to take phases,” Herrera said.
Friday’s briefing came after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida’s plan for initially administering vaccinations.
DeSantis said when a vaccine is approved, residents of long-term care facilities will be prioritized. Healthcare workers in high-risk environments are next on the list, followed by seniors and those with other risk factors.
“We’re following state guidance and guidance from organizations in the united states that have experts that make those phases,” Herrera said. “Patients with multiple risk factors, the elderly, continue to be the group at the highest risk of complications.”
Pfizer and Moderna have hearings scheduled this month with the FDA after the pharmaceutical companies said final trials have shown their vaccines to be highly effective.
While initial distribution of a vaccine is expected before the end of the year, doctors are urging everyone to remain vigilant.
“At least initially, we need to continue to follow all of the same measures and then we will see as we go along how long we’ll have to do that,” Herrera said.