MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) – Just after the announcement was made that two South Florida hospitals were chosen to be some of the first in the state to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, the Florida Department of Health director for Broward County explained how the vaccine will be distributed.

The Pfizer vaccine could possibly be in Jackson Memorial Hospital and Memorial Regional Hospital in December, which is when the hospitals will start to give the vaccines to healthcare workers and the most vulnerable.

“Now we can feel hopeful, we can feel optimistic, but we must not let down our guard,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “It will be a few months before it reaches the general population, so all the more reason that we need to continue these precautions,”

According to FDOH Broward County Director Dr. Paula Thaqi, the vaccine will be distributed at some of the COVID-19 testing sites in the county.

“We anticipate that we will be vaccinating at sites, some which may be simultaneous with our testing sites,” said Thaqi. “We need to work with the county and with the municipalities around that, but we have that structure in place, and we maintain that structure in anticipation of not only the need for continued testing but also the need for vaccination.”

Most vaccines will comprise of two doses. FDOH will be tracking patient progress by using a program called Florida Shots.

“We anticipate using Florida Shots, which is the state immunization registry, to order and document vaccines, and provide recall messages for a second dose,” said Thaqi.

Just this week, more than 29,000 Floridians have contracted the virus, and nearly 300 additional deaths have been reported.

In Key West, the city commission has voted 7-0 to implement a strict mask mandate. Anyone in Key West not wearing a mask in a public space will receive a fine.

That fine will be collected after Governor Ron DeSantis’s executive order prohibiting the collection of mask-related fines expires.

There was no mention of COVID-19 restrictions from DeSantis on Thursday, but he released a video saying it will take 24 hours to get the vaccines to Florida once the FDA approves them.

“Both CVS and Walgreens will also begin receiving vaccines to administer to residents of long-term care facilities who, of course, are most vulnerable citizens when it comes to COVID-19,” said DeSantis.

DeSantis said the very first batch of vaccines could be in Florida in just three weeks.

Early 2021 is when more vaccines are expected to be made available to others.

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