Photo via Office of the Governor
In a five-minute video released Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said his goal is to make yet-to-be-approved COVID-19 vaccines available to Florida residents who voluntarily agree to get inoculated and that he hopes the vaccines will be available in the next three to six weeks.
Pfizer and Moderna have announced development of vaccines with 90 percent efficacy rates in clinical trials. The federal government has secured 40 million doses of the vaccines from the companies — 25 million from Pfizer and 15 million from Moderna. Because two doses will be required, that would provide vaccines for 20 million people across the country.
Once approved by the Food and Drug Administration, DeSantis said the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed to five Florida hospital systems that have the capability to keep the vaccine stored at negative 70 degrees. The Moderna vaccine does not require such cold storage.
DeSantis’ office released the video two days after the governor met with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield and other federal officials.
In addition to using the video to tout the vaccines, DeSantis also spoke about a new therapeutic drug developed by Eli Lilly that the federal government authorized for emergency use and said more than 3,000 doses have been sent to Florida. The therapeutic is administered intravenously and is targeted for people who are at high risk of severe complications from COVID-19.
“I do believe that these breakthroughs represent probably the greatest rays of hope that we have seen since the pandemic began,” DeSantis said of the vaccines and new therapeutics. “They offer the prospect of saving thousands and thousands of lives, and to potentially bring this pandemic to an end.”
DeSantis issued the video instead of holding a news conference. A close ally of President Donald Trump, DeSantis has avoided reporters following remarks on Fox News calling for the Pennsylvania legislature to consider overriding voters and selecting its own presidential electors.
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