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South Florida veterans to get vaccine soon, with other seniors to follow

Kristina Castro of Broward Health Medical Center loads a syringe with a dose of the Pzifer COVID-19 vaccine as she inoculates doctors and nurses on Dec. 17 in Fort Lauderdale.

SUSAN STOCKER, SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL/TNS

By LISA J. HURIASH | South Florida Sun Sentinel | Published: December 24, 2020

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(Tribune News Service) — Military veterans in South Florida will soon have access to the COVID-19 vaccines, and other older people will follow shortly.

In a statement Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs said 113 medical centers and clinics would receive “limited” Moderna COVID-19 vaccine supplies this week, including the William “Bill” Kling VA in Sunrise.

Health care workers will come first and then older veterans who are already registered with the VA. Care managers “will reach out to eligible veterans to schedule vaccinations,” said agency spokeswoman Mary Kay Rutan.

This week, 15 VA medical centers and clinics around the country also received the Pfizer vaccine for residents and staff, including the VAs in Miami and West Palm Beach, both of whom have congregate living units, Rutan said.

Other Floridians 65 and older will be able to receive COVID-19 vaccines through county health departments as early as Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered Wednesday.

But in Palm Beach County, that is expected to begin in early January for seniors.

The county received its first batch of 20,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine late Wednesday and will begin vaccinating first-responders and health care workers starting Monday.

Locations for the public to be vaccinated have not been chosen yet.

Broward County had even fewer specifics Thursday about how they would comply with the governor’s mandate.

The Health Department in Broward “will begin vaccinating individuals 65 and older in the coming weeks as supply permits,” said agency spokeswoman Renee Podolsky. She said information would be forthcoming once a vaccine was available.

DeSantis said the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are already in most hospitals, and county health departments could start inoculating as early as Monday, but he also cautioned that health departments would have a limited supply on hand.

(c)2020 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
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