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COVID-19 vaccine pilot comes to Florida

Posted at 5:46 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 17:46:16-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida has become one of the hardest-hit places globally for the virus.

The Florida Department of Health is now working on quickly bringing a COVID-19 vaccine to the state, but some are apprehensive saying they won't touch the vaccine at all or they want to wait a while.

Most don't look forward to getting a shot at the doctor.

Especially when you add in the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

"That's like when a new iPhone comes out," said Michael Whaley. "Everybody runs to get it and then there's issues. So I want to wait and see how it'll affect everybody else before I go in there and tell them to give me a shot."

Even so, more than half a million cases of COVID-19 in the Sunshine State have health leaders searching for relief.

The Center for Disease Control is inching into the third phase of vaccine development.

"The response, the antibody response, is what we might consider sufficient, as well as long-standing," FAMU epidemiology professor Perry Brown said. "Then that would be a candidate vaccine that the evaluation data goes to the FDA, the FDA gives it the stamp of approval and now it's out there."

The CDC is looking at Florida to hold trial runs for a COVID-19 vaccine.

In a statement to ABC 27, the Florida Department of Health says:

"For COVID-19 vaccinations we have held an initial interest meeting with CDC to discuss the pilot. There will be a meeting at a later date to discuss the scope and direction of the pilot project."

But there's hesitation from people in the community.

"They rushing it," said Whaley. "Sometimes a vaccine can take 18 months to two years for a decent vaccine. You don't want to rush something like that."

Brown says the time limits are different for the coronavirus.

"With this kind of an infection which spread so rapidly, which has such a tremendously high mortality rate, we don't have that luxury," Brown said.

Brown says side effects outweigh covid symptoms.

"But in this instance, in this case, I would make the argument that minor side effects against getting COVID-19 and having a systemic pernicious infection, I go with side effects," said Brown.

"I would be open to getting it" said Sarah Wells. "It is a little scary though, the thought of getting the vaccine."

The Florida Department of Health says talks about the vaccine are still early. They haven't decided how it would be distributed throughout the state.

Other states tapped to join the vaccine pilot program include Minnesota, California, and North Dakota.