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Florida Physicians Urge Patience As COVID-19 Vaccine Demand Outweighs Supply

Close-up of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine vials
Pinellas County Department of Health
Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are prepared for distribution in Pinellas County on Dec. 16, 2020.

The statement came after a report that physicians were unsure when they would receive the vaccine.

Noting a limited amount of COVID-19 vaccine available for distribution in December, the state’s largest physicians association urged people Thursday to be patient.

“There are far more health care providers and long-term care residents who qualify for the first round of the vaccine than there is vaccine available,” Florida Medical Association President Mike Patete, a Venice physician, said in a prepared statement. “Manufacturing, distribution, and administration still pose challenges and will require an extraordinary level of cooperation in order to ensure that everyone who wants the vaccine receives the vaccine as soon as it becomes available.”

The association wants all physicians in what is described as the “high risk/high contact” category to be provided “appropriate” access to the vaccine.

The FMA’s statement came on the heels of a Palm Beach Post report that physicians were unsure when they would receive the vaccine. The statement also followed news that Florida won’t get another round of a vaccine manufactured by Pfizer next week, as The News Service of Florida reported Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis blamed the delay on production issues by Pfizer.

Pfizer released a statement Thursday saying that wasn’t the case.

“Pfizer is not having any production issues with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed. This week, we successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the U.S. Government to the locations specified by them,” the company’s statement said.

“We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses.”

DeSantis announced Wednesday evening that the state is preparing to receive 367,000 doses of a vaccine from the drug company Moderna next week. The doses will be distributed to 173 hospitals in 43 counties, the announcement said.

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