SARASOTA — Sarasota Memorial is among the first hospitals in Florida to be allocated the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which was recently authorized for emergency use by the federal Food and Drug Administration. After receiving 9,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday, Sarasota Memorial Hospital began vaccinating its healthcare workers by mid-day, and by 4 pm, more than 400 team members had received the vaccine, designed to prevent COVID-19 infection.

Cardiac Surgery Nurse Aileen Bermudez, BSN, was the first SMH employee to get the vaccine. “I would encourage everyone to get vaccinated — for your family & your loved ones,” she said.

The hospital expects to vaccinate approximately 575 staff members and physicians daily over the next few weeks. The first distribution is allocated to frontline workers, including physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and clinical and non-clinical staff who support patient care.

Given government guidelines and the U.S.’s limited vaccine supplies, SMH’s initial focus will be on vaccinating employees and physicians on its medical staff. We are not a community vaccination site.

For information on vaccine distribution to the general public, contact the Department of Health: Call 941-861-2883, email or for updates via text messaging, text FLCOVID19 to 8