New COVID-19 vaccines provide a dose of hope

New COVID-19 vaccines provide a dose of hope

BY THE BOCA GRANDE HEALTH CLINIC – Submission Note: The COVID-19 situation remains fluid. This article reflects information known at the time it was submitted to The Boca Beacon.

With vaccines front and center in the news, questions about vaccines – when they will become available and where and how to get them – is on everyone’s mind right now. Two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, likely will receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) very soon to provide an estimated 20 million doses of vaccine to states in December. Both company’s vaccinations are double dose – so this 20 million equals only 10 million people. Florida’s share of this first allocation is expected to be in the 2 million range, enough for about 1 million vaccinations.

With a population of 21.5 million, initially there will not be enough product for everyone in Florida who wishes to be vaccinated. Governor Ron DeSantis announced last week a phased approach to vaccine distribution.

• The top priority will be residents of our long-term care facilities who are at the greatest risk and could benefit the most from the vaccine.

• Next will be healthcare workers who are in high risk and high contact environments.

• Then, any supplies remaining of the initial allocation will be earmarked for broader distribution to the 65 and over community and those who have significant comorbidities.

• A phased approach would expand to the general public as more doses become available.

Like all providers, the Boca Grande Health Clinic is subject to national and state distribution plans, so we have very little, if any, control over the timing of when vaccine will be available on island. The Clinic is trying to position itself with the Florida Governor’s office and area healthcare systems to get closer to being part of the first phases of vaccinations. We will continue to try and partner with healthcare systems and leverage our membership in Healthnetwork as much as possible to gain access to the vaccines as early as possible but it’s likely that the Clinic won’t have COVID-19 vaccines on hand for many months. The Clinic will continue to provide updates as information becomes available in this ever-changing situation.

If you’d like to find where you stand in line for a COVID-19 vaccination, there’s an interesting tool developed by the great minds of today’s scientists that can predict when it might be your turn. The tool was made available by The New York Times on Dec. 3: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/12/03/opinion/covid-19-vaccine-timeline.html.

Until there is widespread availability of the vaccine, it’s vital that we remain on guard and take all of the appropriate measures to protect ourselves and our community from the spread of COVID-19. Be responsible – for your own health and to protect the health of those you love. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Social distance. Avoid gatherings of more than 10. And isolate or quarantine if ill.