By Marsha Mullings, MPH
14.7 million cases, 282,323 deaths
1.1 million cases, 56,457 total hospitalizations, 19,177 deaths
112,463 cases, 6,882 total hospitalizations, 1,701 deaths
There were 65,414 new coronavirus cases in Florida last week.
There was an average of 9,345 daily new cases over the last week.
New cases in Florida have arisen 21% since last week.
Pfizer/BioNTech pharmaceutical companies have gained emergency use authorization to start manufacturing and shipping their COVID-19 vaccine in the United Kingdom. This makes them the first among the vaccine front-runners to gain approval for their vaccine.
Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have applied for emergency use authorization here in the US but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet granted approval for these vaccines. It is expected that the FDA will grant approval for the vaccines very soon.
The CDC, with guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities be offered the COVID-19 vaccine in the initial phase of the vaccination program, after obtaining emergency use authorization.
ACIP and the CDC will continue to review the results of the ongoing clinical trials and make recommendations as to the designation of additional high priority groups for vaccinations in the early stage of the vaccination program.
Even though Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have not yet obtained FDA approval for vaccine use here in the US, institutions are already preparing for the arrival of the vaccine. Here in South Florida, the University of Miami/Jackson hospital and Hollywood Memorial Hospital system are on standby for receipt of the vaccine by mid-December.
Vaccines will be powerful weapons in our arsenal against this pandemic, however they are merely a preventative tool and not a therapeutic one. Vaccines will not treat an ongoing infection and they will not reduce the severity of a pre-existing COVID-19 illness. Reducing the risk of infection is still our best weapon against this virus. Disease mitigation is key. Maintain social distance, wear a mask when out in public, and practice good hand hygiene. Above all else, avoid crowded indoor locations, wherever possible.
For more information on coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention, visit www.FloridaHealth.org; coronavirus.jhu.edu; CDC.gov/MMWR