Tampa General Hospital will be one of the first Florida hospitals to receive a shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine, a spokesperson confirmed to Florida Politics Thursday.
The bay area hospital will be one of five hospitals throughout the state to begin receiving shipments next month.
TGH in collaboration with the University of South Florida was chosen because of their involvement in the pandemic, having hosted the White House Task Force, said Dr. Seetha Lakshmi, in a news release.
“We have learned a lot in this process, and that has put us in a unique position to be able to respond in all angles of this pandemic,” Lakshmi said. “So, it was no surprise being one of the major medical centers that was chosen for vaccine delivery.”
Lakshmi said the vaccine is expected to arrive in a few weeks, although an exact date is not yet clear.
While the spokesperson could not yet confirm the other hospitals expecting the vaccine, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported they will include AdventHealth Orlando, UF Health Jacksonville, Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.
This news comes following TGH’s administration of the first monoclonal antibody treatment to a COVID-19 patient Thursday, marking a new improvement to virus care in this pandemic.
The monoclonal bamlanivimab from Eli Lilly is a single dose treatment provided on an outpatient basis to COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms to keep patients from further deteriorating and likely avoid hospitalization.
The treatment is an hour-long infusion. After the treatment, patients are monitored for another hour for side effects and released for home care.
Production is still ramping up on the treatment, meaning there is still a limited supply of the antibodies, and it’s possible, at this point, that not all patients who qualify for the treatment will be able to receive it. Because of that, the treatment is currently being prioritized for high-risk patients.
Those include patients 65 or older, currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment, diabetic patients, obese individuals, or chronic kidney disease. Qualifying patients must also be within 10 days of symptom onset.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the antibodies under an Emergency Use Authorization to treat mild to moderate symptoms from COVID-19. TGH received some of the country’s first supplies and can request additional doses weekly to serve the community.