COVID 19 Vaccine Updates

Update 04/14/21

Headlines regarding the COVID pandemic continue to be centered on the presence of significant surges around the globe, the impact of variants on case rates and therapies, and the development of new therapies. In addition, the FDA and CDC have recommended pausing the use of the J+J vaccine in the US due to the occurrence of rare cases of blood clotting associated with low platelet counts.

Statewide Metrics

  • There were 5,558 new cases on 4/10 and 41,896 in the week ending 4/4 (increasing).
  • There were 3,023 patients hospitalized on 3/29 (increasing).
  • The percent positive rate averaged 7.47% for the week ending 4/4 (increasing).
  • The retransmission rate (Rt) is 1.1 on 4/10 (stable).
  • 7.2 Million individuals have received at least one vaccine dose.

Palm Beach County Metrics

  • There were 346 new cases on 4/10 and 2,778 new cases for the week ending 4/4 (increasing).
  • The positivity rate was 6.93% for the week ending 4/4 (increasing).
  • 528,000 individuals have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Jupiter Medical Center

  • There are 10 patients currently hospitalized at JMC with COVID-19.
  • 5 patients are in the ICU (2 requiring ventilators and 3 requiring BiPAP).
  • We tested 328 patients this week in our urgent care centers for COVID (9.7% increase).

Global Surges

There continue to be significant surges around the globe. Important factors are believed to be the impact of variants, the easing of social distancing and mask requirements, and the challenges of vaccinating populations in a timely manner. India is setting records of 68,912 new cases per day. Only 1% of their population is vaccinated. Additional surges are being seen in Europe, Brazil, and the Philippines.

There continue to be increasing new case numbers and hospitalizations in the US. 5 states account for 42% of the new cases (Michigan, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey). Case rates for children under 19 are at record rates. Epidemiologists have identified school sports as a major source of spread.

Variants

The variants continue to play a critical role in the pandemic. They are a major factor in the new surges that have occurred. The CDC has developed a classification system based on the characteristics of the variants and resulting actions and consequences for public health. The 3 categories are variants of interest, variants of concern, and variants of high consequence. There are currently 5 variants of concern and no variants of high consequence in the US.

Israel has published new data that indicates that the South African variant is breaking through the Pfizer vaccine in Israeli study. The study compared over 400 people who tested positive more than 14 days after receiving one or two doses of the vaccine compared to the same number of unvaccinated patients with COVID. They found that the prevalence rate of the variant was 8x higher in the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated group (5.4 vs 0.7%). This suggests that the vaccine is less effective against the South African variant.

Vaccines

The FDA and the CDC have now recommended pausing the use of the J+J vaccine due to the presence of rare cases of blood clotting associated with low platelet counts. There have been 6 cases reported in women between 18 and 48 years of age who had received the vaccine between 6 and 13 days prior to developing the blood clots. These events are similar to the ones seen with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Both of these vaccines use the adenovirus vector as the framework for the vaccine. A possible mechanism for the clotting is that the antibodies stimulated by these vaccines are binding to platelets and causing the body to inappropriately destroy platelets, which are a key element in the normal clotting process. A similar issue is seen in some patients who receive heparin. This story is just coming out and we will be following developments closely.

Pfizer has requested the FDA to expand the emergency use of their COVID vaccine to adolescents aged 12 to 15. Pfizer had reported that the vaccine was found to be safe, effective and produced a robust antibody response in 12 to 15 year olds in a clinical trial involving 2,260 patients. The vaccine was 100% effective in preventing illness in the trial.

China’s top disease control official acknowledged that the currently available Chinese vaccines do not have high protection rates at preventing symptomatic COVID infections. The efficacy rates reported by the companies have ranged from 50-79%. The threshold considered necessary for vaccines is at least 50%. He stated that mixing vaccines is among strategies being considered to boost their effectiveness. In addition, mRNA vaccines developed in China are now entering clinical trials.

Therapy

Regeneron has reported that their antibody therapy Regen-COV reduced the risk of developing symptomatic COVID by 81% compared with placebo in people living with someone infected with COVID. They will ask the FDA to approve its use in people exposed to the virus who have not been vaccinated.

On April 8th, the NIH COVID-19 Guidelines Panel recommended the use of combination anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies to treat outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of clinical progression. The treatment should be administered as soon as possible after a positive COVID test and within 10 days of symptom onset. The panel recommends against the use of monotherapy with bamlanivimab due to variant resistance.

World’s Best Hospitals 2021

Newsweek has released its World’s Best Hospitals 2021 list (see cover below). Utilizing criteria selected by medical experts from around the world (United States, Germany, France, Switzerland and Israel), the publication partnered with Statista (a global data research firm) to compile this group.

The criteria included:

  • Medical KPI’s (key performance indicators)
  • Patient surveys
  • Recommendations from medical experts (doctors, hospital managers, health care professionals)

Using these criteria, approximately top 2% of the 164,500 hospitals globally and roughly top 5% (world class) of the 6,090 hospitals in the Unites States were identified.

I am proud to announce that Jupiter Medical Center is honored on this list and is the only hospital representing Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

According to Newsweek, the World’s Best Hospitals stand out for their consistent excellence, including distinguished physicians, top notch nursing care and state-of-the-art technology.

Given the enormity of the obstacles presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges inherent in launching new programs (cardiac surgery, medical oncology, women’s & children’s), this is an incredible achievement by our medical staff and the entire Jupiter Medical Center team.

Update 04/05/21

Jupiter Medical Center has received additional supply of the Pfizer vaccine and is now accepting appointment requests for first dose vaccinations via our electronic process.

Applicants need to be residents of either Palm Beach or Martin counties and show proof of residency at the appointment.

You must provide your current email and cell phone number on submission forms. This is required to receive an appointment.

Jupiter Medical Center will send an email notification and a text message reminder to eligible applicants within three (3) business days of receipt of the form.

Please reference our FAQ page and/or Pfizer Fact Sheet for Recipients for additional information.

Community Members Age 18 and Over

Complete the COVID-19 Vaccination Request to Schedule Form

Update 03/30/21

A Message from the CEO Amit Rastogi, MD, MHCM

The critical elements of the Covid pandemic are the occurrence of significant new global surges, the proliferation of variants and the race to vaccinate populations as a mitigation strategy.

Florida Metrics

  • There were 4,943 new cases on 3/28 and 35,551 in the week ending 3/21 (increasing).
  • There were 2,871 patients hospitalized on 3/29 (stable).
  • The percent positive rate averaged 6.62% for the week ending 3/21 (increasing).
  • The retransmission rate (Rt) is 1.1 on 3/28 (increasing).
  • 5.6 million individuals have received at least one vaccine dose.

Palm Beach County Metrics

  • There were 369 new cases on 3/28 and 2,551 new cases for the week ending 3/21 (increasing).
  • The positivity rate was 6.6% for the week ending 3/21 (increasing).
  • 415,000 individuals have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Jupiter Medical Center Metrics

  • There are 14 patients currently hospitalized at JMC with Covid-19.
  • 2 patients are in the ICU (both requiring BiPAP).
  • We tested 316 patients this week in our urgent care centers for Covid-19 (17% increase).

COVID Surges

There continue to be significant surges around the world, Europe has been hit hard in the most recent uptick. New case rates have exceeded 1,000 new cases/100,000 population (the current rate in the US is 127.4/100,000). In response, France has imposed a partial lockdown and Italy has announced a full Easter lockdown. Physicians in France have warned that ICUs will likely be overwhelmed and care rationing may need to be implemented. South America has also seen a significant increase in cases and Brazil’s healthcare system is strained with >80% of ICU beds being filled. These trends are important to monitor because prior surges in Europe predated surges in the US by 2-3 weeks.

After a plateau had been reached following the surge in December/January, there has been a recent uptick in the US new case rates by 6.7% week over week (March 24). Florida’s new case rate has also started trending up as has the percent positive rate for testing. In addition, the reproduction rate (Rt) has increased to 1.1 in Florida, which also indicates that new cases are increasing. The contributions of variants versus other factors is not clear and Spring break/Easter gatherings may contribute to an increase in case numbers. It is not believed that vaccinations have reached levels necessary to prevent surges.

Variants

Variants continue to be of concern because of the increased transmissibility of some of the strains, the possibility of variants causing more severe disease, and the potential for allowing vaccine escape. The most recent data from the CDC demonstrates that the B.1.1.7 variant may now account for >20% of Covid cases in the US. The graph below shows the significant increase in this variant of concern since January 1st. This variant has been found to be 50% more transmissible than the baseline virus and some reports have demonstrated a higher mortality rate from this variant (which was first identified in Great Britain). As of February 27th, 13.2% of Covid cases in Florida were identified as B.1.1.7.

An important recent finding has been the significantly impaired effectiveness of single agent monoclonal antibody therapy against the Covid variants. A recent study demonstrated that bamlanivimab was not effective in vitro against viruses containing the mutations of the B.1.1.7 (UK) or the B.1.351 (South African) variants. Based on this information, the US has halted the distribution of the single monoclonal antibody agent. It appears that combination monoclonal antibody therapies continue to demonstrate efficacy against the variant strains and the use of these products in outpatients with mild to moderate disease should still be considered. An additional disappointing finding is the decreased effectiveness of convalescent plasma against the variant strains, particularly against the South African variant.

Vaccinations

In an effort to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 surges and variants, significant progress continues in vaccinating our citizens. Nationally, 2.5 million vaccines are being administered each day. In Florida, 25.8% of the population has received at least one dose. As of Monday March 29th, persons 40 years of age and older are eligible for vaccines and as of April 5, persons 18 years of age and over will be able to be vaccinated in Florida. Jupiter Medical Center continues to provide vaccinations to our community in line with the state guidelines. Our primary focus in recent months has been providing vaccines to individuals with comorbidities that make severe disease more likely. We are now expanding our recipient pool based on state and federal guidelines. We are proud that we have been able to provide this critical service to our community.

Doctor’s Day

On behalf of all JMC team members and our boards, I would like to thank our entire medical staff for their tireless efforts during the pandemic. The dedication and commitment of our physicians in collaborating with us to develop Covid safety/treatment protocols, vaccine prioritization and most importantly, selflessly taking care of our sickest patients, proved to be an invaluable asset to our community when we needed them the most.

Happy Doctor’s Day!

Visiting Hours Updates

Effective March 15, 2021

The health and safety of our patients, visitors, team members and community is our top priority, our visitor policy is as follows:

  • Inpatients will be allowed one designated visitor from 1pm - 5pm. and will enter through the East Entrance. Upon arrival, visitors will be screened, provide identification, are required to wear a mask and will be directed to the patients room where they will need to remain during their visit.
  • Labor & Delivery and Pediatric patients may have one visitor accompany them during their stay.
  • Parents with an infant in the neonatal ICU will be allowed to be with their infant, one parent at a time.
  • Other exceptions, including visits to hospice, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Visitors who are sick are not permitted to enter the hospital, without exception. Visitors will be screened at the time of arrival.

Hospital Entrance

All visitors are now being directed to enter the hospital through the East Entrance.

Update 03/2/21

A Message from the CEO Amit Rastogi, MD, MHCM

News concerning vaccines continues to be the dominant theme concerning the Covid pandemic and there are numerous developments.

  • A third vaccine developed by Johnson and Johnson (J&J) has been approved in the US and shipments have begun this week.
  • Pfizer was granted permission by the FDA to store their vaccine in regular freezers for up to 2 weeks.
  • Trials are currently underway involving individuals in the 12-18 age range. It is believed that the emergency use authorization may be extended to this group before the next school year begins.
  • Vaccination for younger children may require full evaluation by the FDA rather than an emergency use authorization, due to the lower risk of Covid in these individuals.
  • In Florida, Governor DeSantis announced that police, firefighters, and teachers over 50 years of age are now able to receive vaccinations at four FEMA sites in Florida.

Statewide Metrics

  • There were 1,817 new cases on 2/28 and 40,000 in the week ending 2/21 (decreasing).
  • There were 3,687 patients hospitalized on 3/2 (decreasing).
  • The percent positive rate averaged 6.39% for the week ending 2/21 (decreasing).
  • The retransmission rate (Rt) is 0.92 on 2/28 (stable).
  • 3 million individuals have received at least one vaccine dose.

Palm Beach County Metrics

  • There were 412 new cases on 2/27 and 3,140 new cases for the week ending 2/21 (decreasing).
  • The positivity rate was 6.67% for the week ending 2/21 (decreasing).
  • There was a decrease in Covid-like illness cases to 435 for the week ending 2/21 (decreasing).
  • 265,000 individuals have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Jupiter Medical Center

  • There are 13 patients currently hospitalized at JMC with Covid-19.
  • 2 patients are in the ICU (1 requiring ventilator support and 1 requiring BiPAP support).
  • We tested over 400 patients this week in our urgent care centers for Covid.

Covid-19 vaccines and variants

The J&J Covid vaccine received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA on February 28th after the FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended that action on Friday. The CDC director approved the vaccine on Sunday and distribution of up to 4 million doses of the vaccine has begun this week. The J&J vaccine is based on viral vector technology. A common cold virus called adenovirus 26 is genetically engineered to cause human cells to manufacture a fragment of the Covid spike protein. This causes the body to develop an immune response to the spike protein and thus Covid. The altered adenovirus does not cause recipients to develop a cold. Advantages of this vaccine are that it only requires one shot and it can be kept in regular refrigerators for up to 3 months. It is also significantly less expensive than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Protection from the J&J vaccine begins about two weeks after the shot; zero hospitalizations or deaths were seen by four weeks after the dose.

The EUA request was based on a Phase 3 trial involving 44 thousand individuals. The vaccine is highly effective in the prevention of severe/critical Covid disease. The vaccine prevented all hospitalization and deaths 28 days after vaccination and is highly effective against the South African variant. The vaccine also has an excellent safety profile. Based on this data, individuals should be vaccinated with any of the three vaccines that have received emergency use authorization, J&J, Moderna or Pfizer. All three are highly effective at preventing severe Covid disease and its complications.

As vaccine production accelerates, the important topic of the vaccination of children against Covid is coming to the forefront. Moderna and Pfizer began enrolling children 12 years of age and older in clinical trials and plan to have results by the summer. The FDA will then review the results of these trials before deciding to extend the emergency use authorizations to this population. Only 1% of Covid deaths occur in individuals under 21 years of age. However, about 2% of children who develop Covid require hospitalization and 227 children have died of Covid. Moving below 12 years of age will likely require new studies and modifications of the doses due to an enhanced response in children. It is likely that the FDA will perform a complete analysis related to children under 12 years of age and that the approval would not occur in the form of an EUA.

In Florida, Governor DeSantis announced that police, firefighters, and teachers over the age of 50 will be able to receive vaccinations at the 4 FEMA centers located in Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa. He also extended the vaccine program for at risk individuals under the age of 65 with comorbidities to physicians, advanced practice providers, and pharmacies. This will require availability of vaccine doses at these sites before operationalization and a state form completed by a provider.

Jupiter Medical Center continues to be active in both the prevention and treatment of Covid disease. We are continuing with the very successful program to vaccinate individuals under 65 years of age with comorbidities in partnership with community physicians. We anticipate continuing to provide this important service to our community based on vaccine allocations from the state. In addition, we are one of the few hospitals in the region that continues to provide monoclonal antibody therapy early in Covid disease to prevent hospitalizations and severe disease. Our teams continue to provide outstanding care to patients with moderate and severe Covid disease who require hospitalization. We are very proud of the sustained response to the pandemic by all members of the JMC family.

Update 02/25/21

Jupiter Medical Center received a limited supply of COVID 19 vaccine. The focus was on patients age 18-64, residing in Palm Beach or Martin Counties, and have comorbidities. We have completely exhausted our supply of vaccine. If you were not contacted with an appointment time, we reached capacity and are no longer scheduling appointments.

To keep phone lines open for medical emergencies, please continue to check this page for updates. Thank you for your patience and continued support of Jupiter Medical Center.

Update 02/17/21

A Message from the CEO Amit Rastogi, MD, MHCM

The dominant themes concerning the COVID-19 pandemic are the significant reduction in cases and hospitalizations from the peak levels of the recent surge, the progress towards vaccination of the population, and the impact of COVID-19 variants. In the U.S., vaccine supply constraints are beginning to ease as production accelerates and vaccination channels proliferate. Over 10% of the US population (37 million people) has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In Florida, 2.3 million individuals have received at least one dose (10% of the population). Unfortunately, Florida also has the most confirmed cases of the U.K. variant, with 347 cases reported as of February 11. We are watching the data very closely as the U.K. variant is expected to be the dominant strain in the U.S. by March. It is certainly possible that another surge could be the result and it is essential that we continue to protect ourselves and our community.

Statewide Metrics

  • There were 3,615 new cases on 2/15 (decreasing).
  • There were 4,689 patients hospitalized on 2/14 (decreasing).
  • The percent positive rate averaged 7.25% for the week ending 2/7 (decreasing).
  • The retransmission rate (Rt) is 0.91 on 2/14 (stable).

Palm Beach County Metrics

  • There were 333 new cases on 2/15 and 3,382 new cases for the week ending 2/7 (decreasing).
  • The positivity rate was 7.32% for the week ending 2/7 (decreasing).
  • There was a decrease in COVID-like illness cases to 502 for the week ending 1/31 (decreasing).

Jupiter Medical Center

  • There are 15 patients currently hospitalized at JMC with COVID-19.
  • 3 patients are in the ICU (1 requiring BIPAP).
  • We tested over 400 patients this week in our urgent care centers for COVID-19.

Covid-19 vaccines and variants

Early data from COVID-19 vaccinations is giving hope to people across the globe. Some of the most compelling data is coming from Israel, which has vaccinated over half of eligible residents (3.5 million people) with 69.4 doses per 100 people. In contrast, the rate in the U.S. is 15.4 doses per 100 people. Over 90% of individuals over age 60 have been vaccinated in Israel, resulting in a 40% drop in confirmed new cases and a 30% drop in hospitalizations. This is compared to a 12% drop in new cases and a 5% drop in hospitalizations in a younger age group, in which only 30% have been vaccinated.

There is also data which indicates that vaccinated individuals are far less likely to spread the virus. In Moderna’s phase 3 trial, there was an 89% reduction in asymptomatic and symptomatic cases prior to the second dose of the vaccine.

Clearly, vaccination is an important way to reduce one’s risk related to Covid and many who have been vaccinated are wondering what they can safely do following vaccination. There is evidence that maximum protection occurs about 3 weeks following the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, which should also be applicable to Moderna.

It continues to be unknown how long immunity from full vaccination will last. It is very possible that a yearly booster will be required. It is also possible that an additional dose of a modified vaccine tailored to the variant strains will also be necessary.

The CDC has advised that people who have received the full course of COVID-19 vaccines can skip the standard 14-day quarantine after exposure to someone with infection, as long as they remain asymptomatic.

While the aforementioned provides significant optimism, there are individual differences in development of immunity following vaccination. Furthermore, the detection of new variants raises concern of vaccine efficacy against these variants. Viruses constantly mutate, but particular combinations of mutations can result in vaccine escape. Influenza, which mutates much faster than coronavirus, requires modification of flu shots every year, resulting in development of a global flu vaccine system. Similar tracking will need to be established for COVID-19 and fortunately, the vaccines are based on a flexible technology that can be updated for booster development as needed.

As a result, vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks, socially distance, and avoid large gatherings to decrease transmission and the risk of acquiring COVID-19.

The U.S. continues to ramp up the pace of vaccinations. Experts have stated that vaccinations could become widely available by May. The government has begun shipping vaccine to pharmacies. In phase one, one million doses were sent to 6,500 pharmacies. 21 pharmacy networks including over 40,000 pharmacies are participating in the program. CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Publix pharmacies are included in the program. Many pharmacies already provide vaccinations for illnesses such as the flu and shingles. It is believed that the pharmacies could administer up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine a month. It is estimated that over 70% of the U.S. population could have received at least one dose by mid-September.

In Florida, pharmacies are focusing on vaccinating those over age 65 while some hospitals are being asked to partner with state organizations to focus on providing vaccination to individuals under age 65 with serious comorbidities. Jupiter Medical Center is proud to be one of the hospitals serving this group. In the first phase of this initiative, we have partnered with hundreds of community physicians to vaccinate at-risk individuals that they identify as most vulnerable. Later this week, JMC will be launching the next phase, which will provide direct community outreach to this population via our website. Details will be posted on our website in the upcoming days.

These developments continue to offer hope for a return to a more normal state over the next 6-9 months. Continued vigilance and compliance with masks, social distancing, and avoiding large groups remains important in the fight against the pandemic.

As always, thank you for your continued support of Jupiter Medical Center.

Update 02/03/21

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Florida continue their downward trend. In Florida, new cases, percent positivity, and hospitalizations have all been decreasing over the past 3 weeks. We expect this trend to continue as vaccination efforts accelerate.

Statewide Metrics

  • There were 70,727 new cases during the week ending 1/24 (decreasing).
  • There were 6,109 patients hospitalized on 2/2 (decreasing).
  • The percent positive rate averaged 9.26% for the week ending 1/24 (decreasing).
  • The retransmission rate (Rt) is 0.91 on 2/2 (decreasing).

Palm Beach County Metrics

  • There were 349 new cases on 2/1 and 4,899 new cases for the week ending 1/24 (stable).
  • The positivity rate was 9.09% for the week ending 1/24 (stable).
  • There was a decrease in COVID-like illness cases to 661 for the week ending 1/24 (decreasing).

Jupiter Medical Center

  • There are 23 patients currently hospitalized at JMC with COVID-19.
  • 4 patients are in the ICU (1 requiring ventilator support and 1 requiring BIPAP support).
  • We tested over 500 patients last week in our urgent care centers for COVID-19, a 50% decrease since last month

Covid-19 vaccines

In the U.S., 26 million people (7.8% of the population) have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. In Florida, over 1.7 million individuals (7.7%) have received at least one dose. Vaccine supply continues to be the rate limiting step, prompting President Biden to order a 16% increase in shipments to the states.

As a result, Florida received 307,000 doses of vaccine last week instead of the prior 266,000 weekly doses. A portion of the increased supply this week has been allocated towards medically vulnerable individuals between the ages of 16 and 64 years old and JMC is very pleased to be one of the hospitals which will participate in serving this population. This population was mentioned in Governor Desantis’ executive order regarding priority populations and was included in the 1C group of the initial CDC Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices Guidelines for vaccine allocation. Certain medical conditions which include COPD, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and heart failure are associated with more severe COVID-19 illness. We are partnering with medical staff primary care physicians in the community to identify individuals to vaccinate in this high-risk population.

The over age 65 population continues to be a priority and mass vaccination site(s) with the capacity to administer thousands of doses daily are being planned in Palm Beach County. Publix pharmacies continue to serve as a vaccine source for this population. As many of you are aware, Jupiter Medical Center has a Publix pharmacy partnership on our campus. After discussions with Publix leadership, we are pleased to announce that the Publix pharmacy on JMC campus has been added as a vaccination site for those over age 65. Appointments for this site can only be made via the Publix website.

While vaccine demand still far outpaces supply, we are encouraged by the increase in shipments to the states. Furthermore, pending FDA approval, the J&J vaccine will provide an additional boost to supply by March/April.

Rest assured that the JMC team will continue to advocate to serve as a vaccine resource for our community to provide as many doses as possible, as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your patience as we continue our fight against the pandemic and thank you for your continued support of Jupiter Medical Center.

Sincerely,

Amit Rastogi, MD, MHCM

Update 02/02/21

Jupiter Medical Center has received a very limited supply of the Moderna vaccine from the State. This allotment is focused on patients who are age 18-64 and have co-morbidities which increase the severity of illness from Covid-19. The CDC has identified comorbidities which are known to increase the chance of severe illness and include:

  1. Cancer (active, not history of)
  2. Chronic kidney disease
  3. COPD
  4. Heart conditions (CHF, cardiomyopathies, CAD)
  5. Solid organ transplantation
  6. Obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2)
  7. Sickle cell disease
  8. Down’s Syndrome
  9. Diabetes

We are partnering with medical staff primary care physicians in the community to identify individuals to vaccinate in the high-risk population. Patients who meet criteria will be submitted through their PCP and then scheduled to have the vaccine administered.
We will not be booking appointments through our website. We had hoped to receive more doses of vaccine that would allow us to vaccinate more of these patients at increased risk, but our supply is very limited.

To keep phone lines open for medical emergencies, please continue to check this page for future updates. Your continued support of Jupiter Medical Center is greatly appreciated.

Updated 01/29/21

While numerous countries across the globe continue to grapple with the spread of COVID-19, new cases and related hospitalizations in the US are finally decreasing. Due to the lingering effects of post-holiday travel and the discovery of new variants, we must approach this news with cautious optimism.

Statewide Metrics

  • There were 76,697 new cases during the week ending 1/17 (decreasing).
  • There were 6910 patients hospitalized on 1/25 (decreasing).
  • The percent positive rate averaged 10.05% for the week ending 1/17 (decreasing).
  • The retransmission rate (Rt) is 0.96 on 1/25 (stable).

Palm Beach County Metrics

  • There were 592 new cases on 1/24 and 4,783 new cases for the week ending 1/17 (decreasing).
  • The positivity rate was 9.27% for the week ending 1/17 (stable).
  • There was a decrease in COVID-like illness cases to 632 for the week ending 1/10 (decreasing).

Jupiter Medical Center

  • There are 33 patients currently hospitalized at JMC with COVID-19.
  • 6 patients are in the ICU (2 requiring ventilators and 1 requiring BIPAP support).
  • We tested over 600 patients per week in our urgent care centers for COVID.

Covid-19 variants and vaccines

Multiple variants of the COVID-19 virus have been identified. Current investigations are underway to define the transmissibility, severity of illness, and the susceptibility to current vaccines of these variants. Recent data has demonstrated that the UK variant is 30-70% more transmissible than the original and suggests that it is more lethal.

President Biden has issued several executive actions aimed at improving the national pandemic response. In an effort to stem the tide of new COVID-19 variants entering the US, a ban is being reinstated on many non-US citizens attempting travel to the US. Additionally, the CDC has announced that it will require all travelers flying to the US from abroad to show proof of a negative coronavirus test before getting on a plane.

Vaccine development, delivery and administration are central to any COVID-19 mitigation strategy and numerous pharmaceutical companies have been pursuing vaccine development. The maker of the single dose vaccine, J&J, is expected to report critical data in approximately 2 weeks, which will set the stage for the FDA issuing an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) in late February or early March for the vaccine. Although the Astra Zeneca vaccine has been approved for use in Europe, a significant issue with the trial used for approval in Europe has caused the company not to submit for a United States EUA and the FDA will perform an independent analysis. Merck reported disappointing results with both of their candidate vaccines and has subsequently stopped clinical trials.

One of the major issues related to vaccines has been supply. Both Moderna and Pfizer committed to deliver 100 million doses each by the end of March. So far, they have delivered 36 million doses and are currently delivering 12-18 million doses per week. In order to boost supply, President Biden said his administration will soon be able to confirm the purchase of an additional 100 million doses each of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, with the shipments to be delivered by this summer. The new order represents a 50% increase in the country’s total vaccine supply from 400 million ordered doses to 600 million.

Until the aforementioned steps take effect, it is unlikely that Florida’s vaccine shipments from the federal government will surpass the current rate of approximately 250,000 doses per week. In an effort to rapidly increase vaccination sites, state authorities are directing vaccine supply towards Publix pharmacy sites, now expanded to over 100 pharmacies in 12 Florida counties. As a result, it is doubtful that hospitals and perhaps even county departments of health will receive additional vaccine going forward.

For those of you that received your first vaccine dose (either Moderna or Pfizer) at Jupiter Medical Center, I am pleased to announce that we have received second dose shipments for both.

As COVID-19 cases begin to ebb and vaccine administration accelerates, we appear to be gaining momentum in the battle against the pandemic. Let’s all continue to do our part by practicing social distancing and wearing masks.

Thank you for your continued support of Jupiter Medical Center.

Updated: 01/22/21

Nationally, the number of new COVID-19 cases has now declined from the most recent peak. There continue to be significant hotspots in COVID-19 activity across the U.S. following the holidays. California and Arizona have seen significant surges in the number of new cases. In Arizona, the daily death rate has increased from 90 to 160 deaths over the past 2 weeks. Review of recent data in Florida suggests that we may be starting to see some moderation after the most recent surge. The Rt currently stands at 0.93, below the important threshold of 1.0. Number of new cases and percent positivity rates are both decreasing. There has also been a trend of decreasing COVID-like illness presenting to emergency rooms over the past week.

The impact of the variant COVID-19 viruses, which appear to be more transmissible, remains uncertain. The United Kingdom has seen a significant acceleration in new case rates which is attributed to the variants. It is predicted that the U.K. variant may become the dominant virus in the U.S. by March.

Efforts to vaccinate key populations have been accelerating. Over 12 million people have received initial vaccine doses nationally, which is about 3.6% of the population. In Florida, almost one million individuals (4.5%) have received their first shot.

Statewide Metrics

  • There were 92,485 new cases during the week ending January 10th (decreasing).
  • There were 7420 patients hospitalized on January 18th (decreasing).
  • The percent positive rate averaged 10.73 for the week ending January 10th (decreasing).
  • The retransmission rate (Rt) is 0.93 on January 19th (decreasing).

Palm Beach County Metrics

  • There were 505 new cases on January 17th and 5,684 new cases for the week ending January 10th (decreasing).
  • The positivity rate was 9.18% for the week ending January 10th (decreasing).
  • There was a decrease in COVID-like illness cases to 643 for the week ending January 10th (decreasing).

Jupiter Medical Center

  • There are 31 patients currently hospitalized at JMC with COVID-19
  • 5 patients are in the ICU (3 of these patients requiring ventilator support and 2 requiring BIPAP support).
  • We are testing approximately 600 people per week for COVID-19 in the urgent care centers, down from 1000 per week.

Vaccine Update

Since December 23rd, Jupiter Medical Center has received approximately 2,000 doses of vaccine. Of these, roughly 1,200 doses were administered to healthcare workers with direct patient contact, comprised of JMC clinical team members and community physicians. The remaining approximately 800 doses, focusing on community members over age 65, were booked within 34 minutes of being posted on our website. 800 doses is barely enough to serve the needs of even one community in the towns surrounding JMC, let alone the over 90,000 residents over the age of 65 in our Primary Service Area (defined as the area where 75% of JMC patients reside). The limited number of doses received has simply been woefully inadequate to meet the tremendous need that exists.

As mentioned in my memo last week, recent policy changes provided hope that vaccine supply constraints would abate in February as second doses of the vaccines, which had been previously placed in reserve, would now be released immediately. Unfortunately, breaking news later in the week revealed that no stockpile exists, meaning that vaccine allocations to states for the upcoming weeks will remain flat.

State authorities are now shifting to a delivery model which will emphasize retail store chains as the primary sites for community members to receive vaccinations. Governor DeSantis yesterday announced plans to increase access sites for vaccine administration by focusing on Publix pharmacies.

We are continuously reaching out to County and State officials to request additional supply for JMC so that we can administer vaccine to our local community. We have submitted applications to AHCA (Agency for Healthcare Administration) to serve as a Community Vaccination site with the ability to administer thousands of vaccines weekly on the JMC campus and our Urgent Care Centers.

We have completely exhausted our vaccine supply and as the focus shifts away from hospitals to Publix pharmacies as vaccination sites, we do not know when or if we will receive additional shipments of vaccine. As a result, we encourage people to pursue all available avenues for receiving their vaccinations. We will continue to provide updates on our website and additional communications as we receive information from our state and county partners.

If you received your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at JMC, we have been assured by state authorities that we will receive an additional shipment to administer your second dose.

While early signs indicate that the most recent surge in COVID-19 cases may be receding and vaccine access sites appear to be increasing, please continue safe practices such as wearing masks and social distancing. Hopefully, the combination of the aforementioned will help slow the momentum of COVID-19 cases.

Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times.

Updated: 01/19/21

We have completely exhausted our vaccine supply. In an effort to increase vaccine access sites, State authorities announced today that vaccine administration will shift away from hospitals towards local Publix Pharmacies. As a result, we are uncertain when or if we will receive additional vaccine shipments.

To keep phone lines open for medical emergencies, please continue to check this web page for updates.

Your continued support of Jupiter Medical Center is greatly appreciated.

Updated 01/15/21

We have currently exhausted our supply of COVID-19 vaccine. We are in communication with state and local authorities to receive additional allotments. We do not know the exact timing or quantity of our next shipment. To keep phone lines open for medical emergencies, please continue to check this page for updates.

Your continued support of Jupiter Medical Center is greatly appreciated.

Updated 01/13/21

The salient updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic are based upon the continued national surge in cases as well as a slower than expected rollout of initial vaccination administrations. New cases in the U.S. continue to rise, with over 300,000 new cases reported on January 8th. Additionally, hospitalizations continue to rise with over 129,000 patients reported in the U.S. This represents more people hospitalized now than at the peak of the spring and summer surges combined. December was the deadliest month nationally in long-term care facilities since the beginning of the pandemic. This surge has also been seen in Florida, with continued increases in the number of new cases as well as in the number of hospitalizations. The number of new cases per day has increased by 8% over the past 7 days.

The pace of vaccinations has significantly underperformed expectations. Only 9 million people have received the initial dose of 25 million vaccine doses nationally and only 600,000 individuals have received the initial dose in Florida. The biggest issue appears to be related to the supply of vaccine. In addition, getting the doses administered in a timely fashion once the vaccine has been delivered to the destination has been challenging for many hospitals, although that has not been the case for JMC.

Statewide Metrics

  • There were 109,536 new cases during the week ending January 3rd.
  • There were 7,713 patients hospitalized on January 12th.
  • The percent positive rate averaged 12.65 for the week ending January 3rd.
  • The retransmission rate (Rt) was 1.05 on January 12th.

Palm Beach County Metrics

  • There were 753 new cases on January 12th and 6,113 new cases for the week ending January 3rd.
  • The positivity rate was 10.85% for the week ending January 3rd.
  • There was a decrease in COVID-like illness cases to 663 for the week ending January 3rd.

Jupiter Medical Center

  • There are 29 patients currently hospitalized with Covid-19 at JMC.
  • 7 patients are in the ICU, 2 requiring ventilators
  • We continue to test over 1,000 patients per week in our urgent care centers for COVID-19.

Vaccine Update

While significant vaccine supply challenges persist, we were glad to recently receive 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the state. The JMC team implemented plans to administer vaccine based on the parameters established in the governor’s executive order. Our first allotment a few weeks ago focused on healthcare workers (team members and medical staff). With many of those needs met, our most recent shipment focused on community residents over age 65. Unfortunately, due to the limited supply and unusually high demand, vaccination appointments were booked in under an hour of posting availability on the website. Approximately 75% of those appointments were booked by community members over age 65, residing mostly in Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens with a few residing in Stuart and West Palm Beach. The remaining 25% were booked by healthcare workers from the JMC clinical team and community medical practices.

We share your frustration regarding the limited supply of the vaccine and the unpredictable nature of the process. Fortunately, policy changes over the past few days provide hope that vaccine supply constraints will abate in the upcoming weeks. Starting in two weeks, vaccines will be distributed weekly to states based on the number of residents over 65-years old and by the pace of administration in each state. Furthermore, second doses of the vaccines, which had been previously placed in reserve, will now be released immediately. These changes should help us secure more vaccine in the upcoming weeks. While this may cause concern for those who have been fortunate to receive the first dose of the vaccine, we have been assured by state officials that current vaccine production rates will be sufficient to meet second dose requirements. Florida State Surgeon General, Dr. Scott Rivkees, testified before the State Healthcare Committee this morning that our state is scheduled to receive 250,000 vaccine doses weekly, exclusive of the second dose supply. Dr. Rivkees also testified that the CDC has committed to having the necessary doses for the second shot.

Further encouraging news came from Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer earlier this week at JP Morgan’s 39th Annual Healthcare Conference. Moderna believes that its vaccine should provide protection against COVID-19 for at least a year. This is an important development since current vaccine administration projections delineate a 9-12 month timeline for vaccine administration across the U.S. If a booster dose were to be required within this timeframe, it would pose further logistical challenges.

Based on the aforementioned information, we are optimistic that vaccine supply will improve in February. We continue to advocate with state and local officials for larger allocations of vaccine for JMC in upcoming shipments and have applied as a Community Vaccination site. We realize that this is a trying process as COVID-19 cases rise and vaccine distribution seems haphazard at best.

Please know that the JMC team is working diligently to obtain as much vaccine as possible, as quickly as possible, in order to meet the needs of our community and healthcare workers.

Thank you for your support during these challenging times.

Update 01/12/21

We shared here yesterday that we received a limited supply of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for community members over age 65 and healthcare workers. The demand was very high and available appointments filled quickly. We anticipate that as vaccine supply becomes available, we will be able to offer more appointment times to our community.

We are working closely with the state of Florida to receive additional allotments of the vaccine. Please continue to monitor the website for updates. In the interim, should you wish to pursue vaccination through another avenue, we encourage you to do so to avoid any delays.

We look forward to serving you in the future.

Updated 01/05/21

A Message from the CEO, Amit Rastogi, MD, MHCM

The most significant developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic are the expected surge related to the Christmas/New Year’s holidays, the detection of the UK variant B117 in the United States and the rollout of the Pfizer/ Moderna vaccines. CDC forecasts project a sustained high level of 1.2 to 2 million new cases per week in the U.S. National models continue to project an increasing number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19. State level models demonstrate a continued high level of new cases in Florida (75,000 new cases per week) over the next 4 weeks. Unfortunately, we are experiencing the impact of this trend on our urgent care centers, emergency department and our inpatient wards/ICU, as demonstrated by the JMC metrics below.

The second important item is the detection of the UK variant in the US. The B117 variant is believed to be 40-70% more transmissible than other strains, meaning that more persons are likely to be infected when they come in contact with an infected individual. Projections show that the retransmission rate (Rt) may be increased by 0.4 to 0.7 by the new strain. It is not yet known whether the new strain produces more severe disease. Scientists are currently evaluating the susceptibility of the variant strain to the current vaccines. At the present time, it is believed that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be effective against the new strain.

Statewide Metrics

  • There were 91,109 new cases during the week ending December 27th
  • There were 7,245 patients hospitalized on January 3rd
  • The percent positive rate averaged 12.4% for the week ending December 27th
  • The retransmission rate (Rt) is 1.15

Palm Beach County Metrics

  • There were 796 new cases on January 4th and 5,088 new cases for the week ending December 27th.
  • The positivity rate was 9.85% for the week ending December 27th.
  • COVID-like illness cases have increased to 617 new cases per week (ending December 27th).

Jupiter Medical Center Metrics

  • There are 29 COVID positive patients admitted at JMC.
  • 6 of these patients are in the ICU (two patients requiring mechanical ventilation, one requiring BIPAP support).
  • The number of patients being tested daily in the ED for COVID illness has jumped to over 50 per day.
  • We are testing over 1,000 patients per week in our urgent care centers for COVID.

Vaccines

While the development of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in record time has been a boon, distribution of the vaccines has proven to be a significant logistical challenge around the globe and our nation.

In Florida, the state has received nearly 965,000 doses of vaccines for Covid-19, of which 533,000 doses have been provided to hospitals and approximately 250,000 of those vaccines have been administered. The vast majority of the doses arrived between 12/22/20 and 12/29/20, hampering rollout due to the holiday break.

On December 23, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis signed an Executive Order prioritizing vaccine administration to healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents and those over age 65. Unfortunately, the current supply of vaccine is not enough to meet the demand even for the priority categories, and it will require months to successfully vaccinate these individuals. Hospital staff and long-term care residents/staff in Florida constitute at least 750,000 individuals and there are more than 4.5 million individuals 65 and older. Compounding this challenge is the fact that the current vaccines require administration of a second dose to these recipients within 3-4 weeks of the first one.

The first week of Covid-19 vaccine deployment in Florida began with the distribution of Pfizer vaccine to five pilot sites, for the purpose of vaccinating healthcare workers and long-term care residents. Week two marked shipment of the Moderna vaccine to hospitals across the state for healthcare workers, along with vaccination of long-term care residents by CVS/Walgreens. In week three, all 67 county health departments received the vaccine to begin community vaccinations.

As we enter week four, Governor DeSantis has directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to work with the Florida Department of Health to identify state-run COVID-19 testing sites that can be converted into vaccine sites. He has also directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to identify places of worship and other locations in underserved communities where the vaccine may be administered. Florida has already begun a pilot program in Escambia County, where over

500 seniors have received their vaccine and have been scheduled for their booster shot, which they will receive at the same location. The governor has directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to hire 1,000 contract nurses to support vaccination efforts and these nurses will be deployed throughout the entire state to help run vaccination sites. Governor DeSantis is also directing the Florida Division of Emergency Management to assume additional responsibilities regarding the administration of vaccines in Florida’s over 3,000 assisted living facilities, supplementing and accelerating the efforts being undertaken by CVS and Walgreens, pursuant to their agreement with the federal government. At this time, vaccines for those over 65 will be available from the county health department and hospitals.

At Jupiter Medical Center, we are proud that we were able to start vaccinating healthcare workers (team members and medical staff) within 2 hours of receiving our first vaccine allocation on December 23rd. Additionally, we administered the vaccine on Christmas eve as well as Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend to increase access for medical staff providers unable to participate during the week due to patient care responsibilities.

We have exhausted our first allocation of the vaccine focusing on healthcare workers and have submitted a plan to the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) requesting a significant increase in future allotments. This would allow us to vaccinate thousands of community members weekly, prioritizing those over 65 years of age, while continuing to vaccinate healthcare workers. We have offered to conduct community vaccination clinics on JMC campus, our Urgent Care Center locations and in the community, seven days a week.

While we don’t yet know the exact timing or quantity of our next shipment of vaccine from the state, we anticipate receiving it as early as next week. Much of the uncertainty stems from a national vaccine supply chain process which is still under development. Currently, the states receive a varying allotment of vaccine on a weekly basis from federal authorities and subsequently allocate it to hospitals and county health departments. In our discussions with state health agency officials, they have assured us that significant efforts are underway to streamline this process and improve predictability of vaccine allotment in the upcoming weeks and months.

JMC leadership continues to advocate with state and local leadership/legislators for increased vaccine allocation for our community. As mentioned above, we have a plan in place to administer community vaccinations, which we are ready to operationalize as soon as we receive notice of our next vaccine allocation. Once we receive notification, we will send out detailed communication regarding the appointment scheduling process, locations, etc.

While we are all glad to put 2020 behind us, we face significant challenges for the first few months of 2021. COVID-19 cases are on the rise and are projected to increase over the next 4-6 weeks as a result of holiday travel. Although vaccines will provide much needed protection against future spread of the virus, the current demand far outpaces supply.

Please know that through these trying times, the entire JMC team is here to serve. Whether it is to diagnose those presenting with COVID-19 symptoms at our urgent care centers/emergency department, or to provide the latest treatments for those requiring admission to the hospital, we are here. While the vaccine rollout presents significant challenges, we are advocating vigorously to obtain as many doses as possible for community vaccinations and re-purposing personnel throughout the organization to operationalize vaccine clinics as soon as we receive more vaccine.

We will get through these trying times together.

Best wishes for a safe and healthy new year.

Updated 12/29/20

A Message from the CEO, Amit Rastogi, MD, MHCM

JMC received its first shipment of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from the Florida Department of Health on Wednesday, 12/23/20. I am proud to say that we began administering it to our healthcare workers (team members/medical staff) within 90 minutes of arrival.

In just 6 days, we have vaccinated over 625 members of our staff, physicians and nurses, prioritizing those who face high risk exposures or high frequency of events. While we continue to vaccinate our healthcare workers, we are working closely with the Florida Department of Health and anticipate vaccinating community members, 65 and older, in the upcoming weeks based on CDC recommendations and the Governor’s Executive Order. To keep you informed, we will continue to post updates on Tuesday and Friday.

Please remember, your best protection from #COVID19 will be a combination of getting a COVID-19 #vaccine, wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often.

Statewide Metrics

  • There were 68,614 new cases during the week ending December 20th

  • There were 6,400 patients hospitalized on December 28th

  • The percent positive rate averaged 9.03% for the week ending December 20th

  • The retransmission rate (Rt) is 1.05

Palm Beach County Metrics

  • There were 626 new cases on December 28th and 3,529 new cases for the week ending December 20th

  • The positivity rate was 7.15% for the week ending December 20th

  • COVID-like illness cases have remained stable at 472 new cases per week (ending December 20th)

Jupiter Medical Center Metrics

  • There are 21 COVID positive patients admitted at JMC

  • 5 of these patients are in the ICU (one patient requires BIPAP respiratory support)

  • There has been a 4% increase in the number of patients seen in the Urgent Care Centers for COVID testing.

Updated 12/23/20

A Message from the CEO Amit Rastogi, MD, MHCM

The surge in new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations has continued over the past several weeks, partly a sequela of the Thanksgiving holiday. On December 18th, there were over 400,000 new cases in the U.S. There are over 100,000 patients hospitalized in the U.S. and 21,000 requiring ICU level care. Current models project a continued increase in cases over the next 4 weeks and predict 1.2 to 2.3 million new cases will be reported in the week ending January 9th. On a positive note for our state, the consensus projection for models of Florida and Palm Beach County demonstrate a plateau in number of new cases over the next 4 weeks. The state is projected to add 75,000 new cases weekly over the next 4 weeks.

A concerning new development is the emergence of a more transmissible strain of COVID in the United Kingdom. The new variant was first detected in September and already accounts for two-thirds of cases in London. The new strain also exhibits mutations involving the spike protein, which is worrisome because current vaccines target the spike protein. Scientists are studying whether the current vaccines will be effective against the new variant and they believe that will be the case. Due to these concerns, there has been a rapid move to limit travel from the UK to slow the spread of the new variant.

Statewide Metrics

  • There were 74,545 new cases during the week ending December 13th
  • There were 5,241 patients hospitalized on December 21st
  • The percent positive rate averaged 9.38% for the week ending December 13th
  • The retransmission rate (Rt) is 1.08

Palm Beach County Metrics

  • There were 459 new cases on December 20th and 3,791 new cases for the week ending December 13th
  • The positivity rate was 7.59% for the week ending December 13th
  • COVID-like illness cases have decreased to 470 new cases per week (ending December 13th)

Jupiter Medical Center Metrics

  • There are 20 COVID positive patients admitted at JMC
  • 2 of these patients are in the ICU (both patients require BIPAP respiratory support)
  • We are testing approximately 25 patients per day in the ED for COVID-19
  • There has been a 30% increase in the number of patients seen in the Urgent Care Centers for COVID testing.

Vaccines

We are proud to report that JMC received its first shipment of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine today from the state and we have initiated administration of the vaccine for healthcare workers, a very significant advance in our battle against the pandemic. An FDA advisory panel recommended on Thursday, December 17th that the Moderna vaccine receive an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), which was issued this past Friday.

The Moderna vaccine is based on a messenger RNA platform. The messenger RNA enters the cell and encodes the spike protein of the virus, which in turn causes the body to develop antibodies against this antigen. The vaccine demonstrated 94.1% efficacy in preventing COVID infection in a Phase III trial which included 30,000 participants. Vaccination requires 2 doses, 4 weeks apart. Additionally, there were no severe cases of COVID disease in the few patients who did contract COVID illness after vaccination. The side effect profile is excellent. There were no patients who had an anaphylactic or severe hypersensitivity reaction. The most common adverse reaction was injection site pain (90%). A flu-like syndrome with: fatigue (60%), muscle pain (60%), joint pain (40%), and chills (40%) which lasted for 1 to 2 days was also fairly common. This syndrome was more frequently seen after the 2nd dose and in younger patients (<55 years old). Serious adverse events occurred in less than 1% of patients in the vaccine group and in the control group, with no evidence that these were related to the vaccine.

On December 20, 2020 the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) released its recommendations regarding COVID-19 vaccine administration. Their goal is to balance the prevention of morbidity/mortality from COVID with the preservation of societal functioning:

Frontline Essential Workers are defined as workers who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and are at substantially higher risk of exposure to COVID (i.e. firefighters, police, teachers, etc.) while Other Essential Workers include those in transportation, food services, housing, etc.

While CDC data reveals that COVID-19 incidence is highest in young adults (ages 18-29), mortality rates are highest in older adults (those over 85 years followed by ages 75-84).

From a population perspective, group 1a represents approximately 24 million people, group 1b about 49 million unique persons and group 1c represents 129 million unique persons. Barring unforeseen circumstances, CDC models predict requiring roughly 8 weeks to vaccinate group 1a, 12 weeks for group 1b and 24 weeks for group 1c.

In Florida, the Department of Health is partnering with pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) to administer COVID vaccinations for long term care facilities. Therefore, JMC’s initial vaccination plan focuses on healthcare workers. Based on CDC guidelines, our leadership team has developed a plan for vaccinating JMC team members and our medical staff, prioritizing vaccinations for those who face high risk exposures or high frequency of events. This includes individuals working in our COVID Unit, the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, etc.

In line with national models, we anticipate that it will take several weeks to provide the initial dose of the vaccine to our team members and medical staff. We will be working with state authorities to coordinate JMC participation in the vaccination of our community members, which we anticipate will begin in the spring based on CDC projections. This plan continues to evolve and the timeframe depends on our allocation of vaccine, when they are received, as well as evolving CDC and ACIP recommendations.

We remain committed to being a leader in the fight against the pandemic and coordinating with state and local authorities to rapidly vaccinate our team members, providers, and members of our community. In an effort to keep you apprised of this rapidly evolving situation, which affects all of us and our families, we will update our website every Tuesday and Friday and post details as they become available via the following link: https://www.jupitermed.com/covid19-vaccine/.

The arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine certainly brings much needed hope that we will all soon be on the path to “normalcy’ in our lives for which we have been yearning.

Best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season for you and your families.