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AdventHealth sees number of hospitalized patients drop; vaccinates "extremely vulnerable" with earmarked shipment


Physicians discuss the process of contacting patients who qualify for COVID-19 vaccines and express optimism about latest numbers

From AdventHealth

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division dropped last week, the latest indication that the winter surge is slowing.

Dr. Neil Finkler

“We continue to see a daily decrease in both our hospitalized patients and our ICU Patients, said Dr. Neil Finkler, chief medical officer for acute care services for AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division at today’s AdventHealth Morning Briefing.

But, he added, “let’s not stop the things that got us here,” such as wearing masks, practicing social distancing and washing hands frequently.

Dr. Mark Socinski

Finkler appeared with Dr. Mark Socinski, executive medical director of the AdventHealth Cancer Institute, to discuss the hospital system’s latest efforts to vaccinate extremely vulnerable patients and plans to help administer more than 3,000 vaccines this weekend in partnership with Orange County to community health care workers.

The vaccines for health workers were provided by the Florida Department of Health in Orange County and were made available to any eligible health care worker, regardless of health system affiliation. All appointments are filled.

“We’re really looking forward to helping get the vaccines out,” Finkler said. “Health care workers are really on the front line. It’s critically important we protect health workers.”

Socinski discussed the importance of vaccinating vulnerable patients such as those who have undergone transplants or are being treated for cancer. AdventHealth plans to offer more vaccines when supply becomes available.

Cancer and other conditions can compromise patients’ immune systems and put them at higher risk for complications from COVID-19. As a result, Socinski said many of his patients are requesting the vaccine and he recommends they take it when it’s available to them.

“This is a safe and highly effective vaccine,” Socinski said. “I tell them they should be more concerned about the side effects of COVID than the side effects of the vaccine.”

You can sign up for alerts to learn when more appointments are available at www.CoronavirusVaccineAlerts.com. Vaccines are not currently available at any AdventHealth hospital, AdventHealth Centra Care or AdventHealth Medical Group office.

AdventHealth vaccinates organ transplant patients

Last Wednesday, February 3, AdventHealth vaccinated about 500 patients deemed to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 after receiving a limited vaccine supply from the state earmarked for that purpose. Many of those vaccinated were organ transplant patients. The AdventHealth Transplant Institute is the only adult transplant center in Central Florida.

AdventHealth is following national and international guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.K. National Health Service to determine which patients are extremely vulnerable. AdventHealth’s clinical leadership team, including those from the transplant and cancer institutes, determined the priority of those most in need of vaccination, based on condition and treatment. Those include:

Solid organ transplant and bone marrow transplant patients

Cancer patients undergoing active treatment

Cystic fibrosis patients

Those with Sickle Cell Disease

Adults with Down Syndrome

AdventHealth received 500 vaccines from the state and administered the entire supply last week. AdventHealth does not have any vaccines for the public at this time. As additional vaccine supply becomes available, those eligible per federal criteria will be contacted by AdventHealth with instructions on how to receive their vaccine.

“People facing critical health issues, such as those waiting for or having just received an organ transplant, could quickly face an even more life-threatening situation should they contract COVID-19,” said Dr. Neil Finkler, chief medical officer at AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division. “We are thankful to have been allocated the vaccine supply from the state for this purpose and look forward to a time when there is sufficient supply to vaccinate everyone in our community.”

AdventHealth, COVID-19, Dr. Mark Socinski, Dr. Neil Finkler, Hospitals, Organ Donors, Patients, Vaccination, Vaccine, Vulnerable, Winter Surge


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