Florida COVID-19 vaccine: Gov. DeSantis announces priority groups

A vaccine for the coronavirus could come by next week, and Florida's governor is laying out who will get it first. Gov. Ron DeSantis said late Wednesday that the state's plan is similar to the CDC strategy, with one added group.

He again declined to appear in front of repeorters and instead released a video via social media explaining that the top priority will be residents in long-term care facilities. 

"They are the greatest risk and this vaccine could have a tremendously positive impact on them," DeSantis said. 

Second would be healthcare workers who are in high-risk and high-contact environments. 

"And number three, to the extent we have enough, we want to start getting it out into the broader 65-and-over community, as well as those who have significant comorbidities," DeSantis added. 

RELATED: Health leaders say vaccine safety is top priority

He noted that while the state is making plans to widely distribute the vaccine and encourage people to get it, no one will be mandated to get it.


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Earlier in the week, a panel of independent experts advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted that healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities will be the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine. The vote was 13-1. 

Those recommendations must be approved by CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield before the vaccine can be distributed to states and ultimately to the groups part of the Phase 1A distribution plans. 


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Healthcare workers and long-term care residents should be the first to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to vaccine advisors for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The plan is also dependent on authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which still has to approve an application of emergency use from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, the first to apply, and biotech company Moderna.

Both companies have developed coronavirus vaccine candidates that have proven over 90% effective in late-stage clinical trials. 


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If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know

AROUND THE WORLD: CoronavirusNOW.com

Map of known COVID-19 cases:

MOBILE APP USERS: Click here for map

FOX News contributed to this report.