ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 23, 2020 – Vaccinations of health care workers are ramping up across Central Florida, but the public needs to continue vigilance against the spread of COVID-19, AdventHealth physicians said Wednesday.
“The vaccine has certainly brought us hope that the virus will be over soon, but this is not the time to let our guard down,” said Dr. Max Baumgardner, an emergency-medicine physician at AdventHealth Orlando.
“I received the vaccine last week and feel great,” Baumgardner said. “I’m confident I made the right choice, not only for myself, but for the greater good of the community.”
“I want to urge all of you to seriously get that vaccine,” added Dr. Vincent Hsu, epidemiologist and AdventHealth’s infection control officer. “We know it to be safe, we know it to be effective. We have to get enough of our population safe in order to get that herd immunity to help us all.”
Baumgardner and Hsu noted that rollout of Moderna’s vaccine will soon begin, with 11,000 doses in the initial Central Florida allotment. At this time, the vaccine is not available to the public at any AdventHealth facilities.
Meanwhile, an infusion clinic offering leading-edge treatment with monoclonal antibodies has opened at AdventHealth Orlando, with additional clinics opening in January at AdventHealth locations in Orange City and Tavares.
The antibody treatments, which require a doctor’s prescription, are for COVID-positive outpatients at risk of progressing to a more severe case of the disease.
“We’ve treated several dozen now in these infusion centers,” said Hsu. “The demand has been quite strong. We can get these patients treated and, if necessary, we will expand our clinics.”
And while the holidays usually see a dip in ER volume, Baumgarder said, that may not be the case this year due to COVID-19 and holiday travel.
“We have set our ER up to be as safe as possible,” he said. “It is probably safer than anywhere else. You’ll be in a private space by yourself – everybody is masked, everybody is screened.”
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