1. Resident Vera Leip, 88, getting her vaccination
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Ron DeSantis, (R) Florida:
"As you get vaccine out, as you have this protection, you can have people return to more sense of normalcy. I think they've done a great job here and given their seniors the ability to thrive. I mean, some of these facilities, they have really intense mitigation. They don't have as many options. And the residents, even though we've supported visitation and everything we can, they're still not back to where they were pre-COVID. So this really helps I think it helps save lives, but it also helps increase the quality of life for some of our most vulnerable residents."
Nursing homes around Florida began inoculating patients and staff Wednesday against COVID-19 with doses of the first U.S.-approved vaccine against the disease that has killed more than 20,000 people in the state.
At the John Knox Village near Fort Lauderdale, 90 of the 100 residents of its skilled-nursing were vaccinated Wednesday. The village has about 1,000 residents overall with most living independently in homes or apartments with others in assisted living. The state says three village residents have died of the virus, but Mark Rayner, its director of health services, disputed that number. He said the three had recovered and died of other causes.
Resident Vera Leip, 88, got her vaccination Wednesday afternoon as Gov. Ron DeSantis and about 30 reporters and photographers watched. Liep, who taught elementary school in Ferguson, Missouri, for 40 years, said she was excited to get her shot.
DeSantis was touting his administration's effort to get nursing home patients vaccinated as quickly as possible. He said 21,400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were split between nursing homes in the Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg areas, with emergency medical technicians and Florida National Guard medical personnel visiting the homes to give the shots.
He said the first nursing home shots had been scheduled by the CVS and Walgreens drugstore chains next week, but he didn't want to wait. Over the last six weeks, the number of nursing home patients testing positive statewide has risen from 1 in 200 to 1 in 75, he said.
After Leip got her shot, DeSantis asked how she felt â€” fine, she replied. He then quickly pushed her wheelchair back inside and left without taking questions.