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Several Treasure Coast hospitals set to receive Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

173 hospitals across 43 Florida counties will receive vaccine
Posted at 10:35 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 23:43:01-05

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the coronavirus vaccine, manufactured by Moderna, for authorized emergency use.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a tweet that 173 hospitals across 43 counties would receive the vaccine.

On the Treasure Coast, that includes St. Lucie Medical Center, Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic Martin North, Cleveland Clinic Martin South, Cleveland Clinic Tradition and Cleveland Clinic Indian River.

"I will absolutely get the vaccine," said Dr. Andy Digart, an emergency room physician at St. Lucie Medical Center. "I think this is an extremely well-studied science that has happened so rapidly. However, it's all there. It all adds up."

Digart said those who are able to receive the vaccine should do so.

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"It's very important to get both shots," said Digart. "That is extremely important."

Fernando Petry, chief medical officer of Cleveland Clinic Martin Health, said the vaccine probably won't reach the general public "until a few months into 2021."

Petry said it's unknown at this time how many doses his hospitals will receive in the coming weeks and that front-line health-care workers will have the option to receive the first doses.

"We need to vaccinate as quickly as possible," said Petry. "We can protect them and make sure that we have staff for all of our beds and for all of our patients."

Both Digart and Petry said the differences between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are minimal and that until the vaccine is widely available, the public should continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

"Compared to the virus, I am absolutely 100% on board for it," said Digart.