Tampa General nurse, 31, gets Tampa Bay’s first coronavirus vaccination

Vanessa Arroyo is a front-line nurse in the hospital’s COVID unit.
Published Dec. 14, 2020|Updated Dec. 14, 2020

TAMPA — Tampa Bay’s first COVID-19 vaccine was administered Monday morning at Tampa General Hospital with an array of media and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in attendance.

Vanessa Arroyo, 31, is a front-line nurse at the new Taneja Family Global Emerging Diseases Institute, the hospital’s COVID unit. She has worked for Tampa General for eight years.

Related: Coronavirus vaccine arrives in Tampa Bay and Florida

Nurse Rafael Martinez administered the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech, one of nearly 20,000 doses the hospital received in a FedEx shipment that the governor signed for Monday.

Dr. Charles Lockwood, dean of the USF med school, called this “a magic moment.” He said it makes him think back to being a kid, watching Neil Armstrong walk on the Moon.

Correction: UF Health’s CEO in Jacksonville was Florida’s first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. An earlier version of this story was incorrect due to an erroneous statement by Gov. DeSantis.

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