UF Health to offer COVID-19 vaccines to patients over 65
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - UF Health is moving into the next stage of its COVID-19 vaccination program.
The local hospital system is now set to offer vaccines to more than 11,000 UF Health patients in Alachua County ages 65 and over. They are also working closely with the Department of Health in Alachua County to help expand access to the vaccines.
“We’re excited to play a key role in protecting our community by vaccinating as many people as possible,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health in a press release. “This joint effort with the Department of Health will help end this pandemic and get us back to our normal lives and routines. We live in the communities where we work. And we’re completely committed to assist with getting vaccinations for our neighbors as quickly as is possible. We appreciate everyone’s patience; we are working fast but understandably any undertaking of this magnitude is going to take some time.”
Any UF Health patients that are 65 and over that have accessed the health system within the last year will be receiving notices through their My UFHealth accounts to schedule an appointment.
The press release says 11,309 patients will be in the first group, with the appointments set to be spread over a month. These vaccination appointments will primarily take place at UF Health Springhill.
UF Health has already vaccinated more than 15,000 people at its Gainesville, Jacksonville and Central Florida campuses - focusing on front-line workers and those who care for COVID-19 patients.
DOH Alachua County is hoping to create an appointment-only vaccination site at the Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center. According to UF Health, they hope to follow that with sites at the UF Cultural Plaza/Museums on Hull Road, with the department providing vaccine doses and administrative oversight.
“Collaborating on vaccinations builds upon our testing and contact tracing efforts that began during the very early stages of this pandemic,” said Paul Myers, administrator of the state Department of Health in Alachua County. “Leveraging state, county and UF Health resources in service to our community will result in lives saved and improved.”
UF Health and North Florida Regional Medical Center will offer vaccinations through their own affiliated providers, while the Department of Health in Alachua County is helping those community practices that do not have local hospital affiliations.
“We will follow the governor’s and CDC guidance to focus on the most vulnerable in our community first, and then the broader community — teachers, bus drivers and other essential workers — as vaccine supplies allow,” Nelson said.
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