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'A glimmer of hope:' First doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Jacksonville

Doctors at UF Health said they've been preparing to store the vaccine for a while, prep that includes storing it in negative 70 degree Celsius temperatures.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The first doses of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Jacksonville Monday morning and were administered to a select few.

The doses arrived at UF Health were given to a pre-selected group around 10:30 a.m.

Dr. Leon Haley, the CEO of UF Health Jacksonville, was the first to receive a dose. It was followed by a round of applause from the crowd.

Haley is one of the 10 individuals who will be given a dose of the vaccine on Monday with more to follow in the coming week.

"It's a glimmer of hope," one vaccine recipient tells First Coast News' Ken Amaro.

UF Health says an estimated 20,000 vaccines could arrive by Tuesday. All the ones they have now were transported in boxes with dry ice to keep the doses at the right temperature.

Doctors at UF Health said they've been preparing to store the vaccine for a while, prep that includes storing it in negative 70 degree Celsius temperatures.

“Tuesday and Wednesday we will start giving more - all staff who want the shot are signing up through an employee portal," said Daniel Leveton with UF Health. "Other hospitals will get the vaccine from us after we get it and then they’ll be in charge of giving it to their workers."

Florida will receive more than 179,000 doses of the vaccine in the first round. In the first shipment, 97,500 doses will go to hospitals, like UF Health. They will be distributed to health care workers in high-exposure parts of the hospital.