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First phase of coronavirus vaccines could arrive in South Florida by Monday

Palm Beach County will have to wait for second phase
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Posted at 11:22 PM, Dec 13, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Hundreds of thousands coronavirus vaccinations are now on the way to hospitals across the country.

Officials with Operation Warp Speed said that the vaccine could arrive in South Florida as early as Monday morning.

"This is fantastic news," Dr. Tom Macaluso, vice president of Memorial Healthcare System, said.

Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood is expecting to receive about 20,000 vaccines come Monday.

"This vaccine is going to be the major tool in bringing an end to this pandemic," Macaluso said. "With the ability to vaccinate a large number of our citizens, we could potentially see this come to an end much sooner."

Dr. Tom Macaluso on COVID-19 vaccine coming to South Florida
"This vaccine is going to be the major tool in bringing an end to this pandemic," Dr. Tom Macaluso says.

However, in Palm Beach County, no hospitals will be a part of the first phase of vaccines that also includes long-term care facilities.

"I was very disappointed that the governor, or the governor's office, decided to not include Palm Beach County as one of the five hospitals that were chosen," Commissioner Mack Bernard said.

He said Palm Beach County hospitals will need to wait another two or three weeks before they could receive the vaccination.

"What we do hope is that with the governor's office, that in that first batch, our long-term care facilities will be able to get the vaccination in Palm Beach County, even though our hospitals didn't receive it," Bernard said.

Bernard said the general population in Palm Beach County should continue to take steps to reduce their risks while awaiting wide spread vaccine access.

"What we need is for our residents to continue to wear their masks, make sure that they maintain their social distance and wash their hands until we're able to get this thing figured out," he said.