By Amy Enberg
The United States saw its first administration of the approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday, causing many to see the light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against COVID-19. This came as the count for virus-related deaths in the US surpassed 300,000.
Florida initially allocated 179,400 doses of the vaccine, which Gov. Ron Desantis plans to distribute to residents of long-term care facilities and health care workers first. Specifically, he will send 97,500 doses to hospitals to administer to healthcare workers, 60,450 doses will “be sent to CVS and Walgreens for use in long-term care facilities,” and “21,450 doses of vaccine will go directly to the Florida Department of Health.”
Lee Health might not see any of the vaccines in the initial allocation, though it expects to receive some in the next few weeks. The five hospitals planned to receive the first doses are Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, AdventHealth Orlando, Tampa General Hospital, and UF Health Jacksonville.
Now that vaccines are becoming available, many are wondering when the world will return to normal. However, the vaccine will not eliminate the need to abide by the recommended safety measures.
According to the CDC, “Patients will still need to practice other precautions like wearing a mask, social distancing, handwashing, and other hygiene measures until public health officials say otherwise.” The virus will not go away immediately, and neither will the necessity of social distancing.
There are many reasons why vaccination will not rule out mask-wearing, including the fact that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, with the second dose coming three-to-four weeks after the first. It is also unknown whether the vaccines keep people from contracting the virus or only from exhibiting symptoms.
Ideally, the US could reach herd immunity by the end of spring. Until then, listen to the guidance of healthcare officials.