University of Florida President Kent Fuchs on Tuesday received his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at UF Health Shands.
Much like other non-medical personnel in the state who are receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, he is above the age of 65. That is the criteria for this first round of vaccinations for university faculty and staff through UF Health Shands.
“There are still people in the University of Florida community that are afraid of the vaccine itself,” Fuchs said. He added that he wanted to receive the inoculation in such a public manner to help prove that he and others should believe the science.
“The two that have been approved for emergency use, both Moderna and Pfizer, are safe,” he said.
Of the roughly 5,000 university faculty and staff, about 1,100 are eligible for this round of vaccinations. Fuchs said that as more vaccinations become available, UF administration will implore faculty, staff and students to receive a vaccination.
“We’re not requiring it of our students, but I just urge every student: Once you’re eligible, once it’s available, to please be vaccinated,” he said.
UF Health has already vaccinated over 15,000 medical personnel around north central Florida since vaccinations began in the area on Dec. 16. Several of those first inoculated are now on their second and final dose this week.
The next step for UF Health Shands is to make the vaccine available to frontline workers in Gainesville and the surrounding area. That topic, along with vaccine safety and efficacy, will be discussed during a telephone town hall hosted Wednesday at 7 p.m. by Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell. Those attending will include Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe, County Health Department Chair Paul Myers and UF Health President David R. Nelson. The town hall will be broadcast on Cox Channel 12 and on both of the city and county’s Facebook pages.
Details on how to call in and be a part of the discussion are available here.