After many long months into the world’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States’ first vaccine was released in late 2020, marking a huge milestone in the fight against the virus. On Dec. 14, UF Health Jacksonville administered the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a group of 10 front-line health care workers. The hospital was one of the “Pfizer Five,” a handful of sites in Florida selected to receive the initial distribution.
Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA, a board-certified emergency room physician, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville and dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, is thought to be the first in the state to be vaccinated. He was followed by additional physicians, nurses, a pharmacist and other staff who work in areas of the hospital that most frequently care for patients with COVID-19.