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Covid-19: The Latest | Florida

Covid-19: The Latest

Everything you need to know in one place. Stay updated on all the latest Covid-19 news as it impacts those with lupus from resources, news, and programming. We will be keeping you updated and provide virtual programming to get you through these unprecedented times. You are not alone.

This is my chapter   |   

We know how difficult these unprecedented times are for all of you living with lupus and your loved ones. We are committed to walking by your side every step of the way. In times like this, it is even more important than ever that we come together as a community.  If you need answers, we will be here to provide them. 

We are here. Always. 

Updated:  7/27/2021  3:01 pm
Latest Covid-19 & Lupus News

COVID-19 Vaccine Mythbusters

Here are some of the COVID-19 Vaccine  Mythbusters

Vaccine Finder

VaccineFinder helps you find clinics, pharmacies, and other locations that offer COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.

Click here to help you find a vaccine location.

Take the Global Rheumatology Alliance COVID-19 Vax Survey

With the recent availability of various COVID-19 vaccines, The Global Rheumatology Alliance are interested in learning how people with rheumatic disease make decisions regarding the vaccines in light of their rheumatic disease.

Take the survey here.

Breaking News: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will expand the statewide eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday he will eliminate the age restriction for the COVID-19 vaccine. As of March 29, anyone 40 and older can make an appointment for the vaccine, and starting April 5, anyone 18 and older can apply for an appointment.

You will be able to pre-register for the COVID-19 Vaccine here.


BREAKING: Vaccine Availble for Extremely Vulnerable of Any Age

As of February 23, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order (EO) allowing vaccine access for people under 65 whose medical conditions make them extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus. On March 3, this order was modified to require a form provided by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) to be completed by your physician (form link below). Hospitals and pharmacy vaccine sites are to accept this form only according to the updated EO. 

FDOH Covid-19 Extreme Vulnerability Form(to be completed by HCP):

Governor DeSantis 3//3 Updated/Amended Executive Order for Extremely Vulnerable:

Governor DeSantis 2/23 Executive Order for Extremely Vulnerable:

Additional new information and links:⁣⁣

Vaccine pre-enrollment site for Florida online (not yet updated to reflect new EO) at

or by phone


Plan Your Vaccine

Everything you need to know about getting a Covid-19 vaccination as the rollout extends across the U.S.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Guidance Summary for Patients with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Guidance Summary for Patients with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases from the American College of Rheumatology.

This document provides guidance to rheumatology providers on the use of the COVID-19 vaccine and the associated management of rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease patients around the time of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. Read it here.

Study Offers New Data on COVID-19 and Lupus and Cautions Against Treatment Discontinuation

A newly published study from Italy sheds additional light on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people with lupus. Importantly, treatment discontinuation was significantly associated with lupus flare risk. While immunosuppressive drugs, commonly used to treat lupus, may make people more susceptible to viral infections, abrupt drug withdrawal may be more harmful than helpful.

Read more.

COVID-19 Vaccine and Lupus

Up to date information on the COVID-19 vaccine and lupus. As we learn more we will keep you up to date on what is important for people with lupus.

Read the latest here.

A study on hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19 global trends reveals insights for future public health policy and practice.

A study on hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19 global trends reveals insights for future public health policy and practice. Read more.

Coronavirus and Lupus: The latest

Dr. Karen Costenbader, Director of the Lupus Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and also Chair of the Lupus Foundation of America Medical-Scientific Advisory Council, provides and update on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on people with lupus, as well as the outlook for treatment and a vaccine.

Watch the video here.

COVID-19 Holiday Guidance As New Year Approaches

While the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines may be underway to high-priority groups, it’s important for your health and your family’s health that you take care and follow the guidelines set by state/local officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more. 

Coronavirus, stress, and mental health

The outbreak of the coronavirus can bring about any number of negative feelings -- whether it’s about the health and safety of both you and your loved ones, your work status, medication supplies, or other fears. But there are a number of healthy, effective ways to manage your stress and anxiety levels so you can maintain a positive outlook.

Read more.

The FDA Has Approved Remdesivir for the Treatment of COVID-19

It is important for people with lupus to know that the FDA also notes there is a risk that remdesiver will not work as well if it is given along with chloroquine phosphate or hydroxychloroquine sulfate.

Read more.

People Critically Ill with COVID-19 and People with Lupus Share Similar Immune-Response Features

People with severe cases of COVID-19 display a similar immune-system response as people with active lupus, according to recent findings.

Read more.

Preparing to Go Back to School During COVID-19

Read some tips that families need to take additional precautions to ensure a safe transition back to school. 

COVID-19 Pandemic Widens Disparities Among People with Rheumatic Diseases, Lupus

The COVID-19 pandemic is widening disparities among people with rheumatic diseases, like lupus. Researchers call for community partnerships to close the gap and offer six steps. Read more.

Hydroxychloroquine and Coronavirus Survey Key Findings

A recent survey conducted by the Lupus Foundation of America via Qualtrics explores the impact of the coronavirus on people with lupus and whether they faced access issues to medications, such as hydroxychloroquine, during the months of March-May of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Read more.

Lupus Foundation of America Survey Finds Over Half of Respondents Experienced Issues Accessing Hydroxychloroquine During Coronavirus Pandemic

In a new survey conducted by the Lupus Foundation of America, 55% of respondents taking antimalarials to manage their lupus reported having difficulty accessing their prescription for hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, during March-May 2020 of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Read more  about the findings from our survey to learn more about the impact of the coronavirus on people living with lupus.

Telehealth and Lupus

Read about how people with lupus can use telehealth and telemedicine, the practice of providing health-related services, and patient care using technology. Read more.

What you can do to protect yourself when your state starts lifting coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

Follow these CDC recommendations to protect your health and lower your risk for infection when your local area lifts quarantine restrictions around COVID-19. Read them here.

COVID-19 and People with Lupus: Risk is Uncertain, and Recommendations are Evolving

In a recently published letter, lupus experts discuss the current facts, uncertainties and recommendations for people with lupus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

Initial Findings on Lupus and COVID-19 Now Available

Analysis of initial data on lupus and COVID-19 from the Global Rheumatology Alliance are now available. Of the reported cases in the registry, 17% have lupus. 

Read it here.

Coronavirus and Lupus (4/9)

The CDC has recommended that people with serious underlying health conditions stay home and avoid other people as much as possible. Lupus is a serious underlying health condition that could lead to a compromised immune system. Read more.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

If you have lupus, you are at higher risk for infections like the coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as serious complications related to infections. That is why it is not only important to protect yourself with COVID-19 but to also know what to do if you began experiencing symptoms of the virus.

Read more.

Are People with Lupus Protected Against COVID-19?

There is no evidence that taking hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) is effective in preventing a person from contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19). People with lupus should follow the guidance of their doctor and the safety guidelines being issued by the CDC.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease — that means that the immune system is dysfunctional and attacks ones healthy tissue. This can make the immune system less effective at fighting infections. Medications that suppress the immune system — which people with lupus often take — can also limit their body’s ability to respond to infections. As a result, people with lupus are less able to fight off bacteria and viruses, like COVID-19. When people with lupus do get sick their illness may also trigger a lupus flare. People with lupus may also have other conditions that put them at higher risk for serious illness from coronavirus such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and a weakened immune system.

Read More!

Frequently asked questions: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Lupus

Our Health Educator Network—health-care professionals and lupus specialists who provide individualized answers—have seen their inquires triple in the last week. The following are questions they’ve been frequently asked and their answers. Read more.

Tips for refilling your hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) prescription

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), people who have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and chloroquine (Aralen) to treat their lupus and other autoimmune diseases are experiencing difficulties getting their prescriptions filled.

Here are some tips on what to do if you have a prescription for hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine.  

State Action on Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine Access

The Lupus Foundation of America is working tirelessly to ensure that people with lupus are able to access these medications, and last week partnered with the Arthritis Foundation to send a letter to each state's Board of Pharmacy urging them to take action to protect access to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for people with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Importantly, the letter was delivered to other key stakeholders, including each U.S. state's governor, major health plans, national retail pharmacies, and the trade associations who represent these organizations as well as those representing pharmacists and health professionals.

To date, the Florida Board of Pharmacy has not issued any publicly-available guidance related to hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine. We will continue to take action and we will keep you informed.  

Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions and Answers

Noticias Actualizadas Sobre el Lupus y Coronavirus

La vacuna contra el COVID-19 y el lupus

Hemos recopilado algunas de las preguntas más comunes sobre la vacuna contra el COVID-19 que nuestros especialistas en educación para la salud han recibido y las hemos contestado a continuación. Todavía hay mucho que desconocemos sobre las vacunas que se están estudiando y desarrollando para prevenir el COVID-19. 

Lea las preguntas aqui.

Qué hacer si tiene síntomas del coronavirus

Si usted tiene lupus, tiene un mayor riesgo de contraer infecciones como el coronavirus (COVID-19), además de complicaciones graves relacionadas con las infecciones. Es por eso que no solo es importante protegerse del COVID-19  sino también saber qué hacer si comienza a experimentar los síntomas del virus.

Lea mas aqui sobre que hacer si tiene sintomas del coronavirus. 

Preguntas frecuentes: coronavirus (COVID-19) y lupus

Lea algunas de las preguntas mas frecuentes del coronavirus y lupus. 

Pasos para ayudar a las personas con lupus prevenir el coronavirus (COVID-19)

Le instamos a que siga estas recomendaciones de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) para proteger su salud y reducir su riesgo de infección. Lea mas aqui.

Consejos sobre cómo rellenar su receta de hidroxicloroquina (Plaquenil)

Aquí hay algunos consejos sobre qué hacer si usted tiene una receta para la hidroxicloroquina o cloroquina. 

El Lupus y Coronavirus

Encuentre toda la informacion y noticias actualizadas sobre el coronavirus y el lupus incluso las preguntas y respuestas sobre la Hidroxicloroquina (Plaquenil) y el Coronavirus (COVID-19) :

Que Significa el Coronavirus Para Las Personas Con Lupus

Lea algunos consejos de la Fundacion Americana de Lupus Lupus  sobre cómo las personas con lupus pueden mantenerse sanos en medio de las preocupaciones sobre el coronavirus.


Preguntas y respuestas sobre la Hidroxicloroquina y el Coronavirus

Esto es parte de nuestra cobertura continua del coronavirus y cómo afecta a quienes viven con lupus. Lea mas aqui.

El Coronavirus, el Estrés y la Salud Mental

Lea mas informacion sobre como manejar el estres y la salud mental en estos tiempos de incertidumbre.

Recursos para el Estado de la Florida para la pandemia del Coronavirus

Recursos en la Florida para la pandemia del Coronavirus 

Florida Covid-19 Resources

Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities

Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19. 

Staying physically active is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy. 

While these facilities and areas can offer health benefits, it is important that you follow the steps below to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Read the CDC guidelines here.

When and How to Use Mask Videos

Watch some videos on how to use a mask the correct way.

Learn more.

CDC Guidelines on How to Use Your Cloth Face Mask

Learn the correct way to use your cloth face mask as well as washing them and making your own mask! 

Learn more here.

COVID-19 and Pets

How does COVID-19 affect pets? Find out what precautions to take to keep your pets safe. 

Read more here.

FDA Updates on Hand Sanitizers with Methanol

FDA is warning consumers and health care providers that the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested. Find the list of hand sanitizers containing methanol here.

Daily updates from the Florida Department of Health

The latest news in the state of Florida on Covid-19 can be found here.

Resources for Floridians Impacted by Coronavirus Pandemic

List of resources for Floridians who have been impacted by coronavirus pandemic.


Financial Resources & Healthcare Coverage

New Resources Identified to Access Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)

The Lupus Foundation of America has been working to address the shortage of hydroxychloroquine for lupus patients. In addition to advocating for people with lupus to state and federal governments, state boards of pharmacy, and drug manufacturers, we have been working to identify pharmacies that have supplies of hydroxychloroquine that can be accessed by people with lupus. If you have exhausted your efforts to get your prescription refilled including utilizing our recent tips, here are some additional options. 

Empower Pharmacy

  • Compounding pharmacy with Hydroxycholorquine 
  • Services all 50 states 
  • Prices are a $1.45/ pill, plus shipping
  • Does not accept insurance
  • Have your doctor fax in your prescription 

 Questions? Reach out here:

Honeybee Health

  • Has hydroxychloroquine in stock for people with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis.
  • They service 40 states (view the list on their website).
  • Hydroxychloroquine prices start at $40 for 30 pills (200mg).
  • They are only filling 30-day supplies at this time.
  • They do not take insurance.
  • You can use coupon code Lupus20 for a one-time savings of %20


  • Has brand name Plaquenil and hydroxychloroquine for patients with a verified lupus diagnosis.
  • They service all 50 states and take all insurance.
  • They will fill up to a 90-day supply
  • Shipping is free.

  • Currently has hydroxychloroquine in stock and they’ve created a direct landing page to order.
  • They do not accept insurance.
  • Prices start at $42 for 30 pills (200mg).
  • They will fill up to a 90-day supply.

State Regulation of Online Pharmacies 

Online pharmacies are required to follow applicable laws in both the state where they are based and in the state where the patient lives. In instances where the laws differ between the two states, standard practice is for the online pharmacy to abide by the more strict laws to ensure they remain in compliance in both states. 

As many states have taken action to regulate the prescribing and dispensing of hydroxychloroquine, we recommend checking before placing an order on any online pharmacy to find out what your state has done and if it will affect your prescription.

Food, Bill Paying and Reduced Cost Programs

Find food assistance, help paying bills, and other free or reduced cost programs, including new programs for the COVID-19 pandemic. Find them here.

Medicare to Allow Home Infusions for Benlysta, Other Medications

For the first time, people with lupus on Medicare will be able to receive infusions of Benlysta at home and will not be required to go to a physician’s office or another facility to get their infusions. Read more.

Medicare to cover telehealth costs during coronavirus pandemic

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency, doctors and other health care providers can use telehealth services to treat COVID-19 for Medicare patients. 


Benlysta Resources

GSK Nurse Call Center

  • Call 877-423-6597
  • Trained nurses are available Monday through Friday, 8 AM- 8 PM ET and can answer questions about products.
  • Note, nurses will direct patients to their physician for any medical advice related to disease, treatment or referrals. 

Additional Patient Inquiries: Contact your provider or pharmacy directly. If additional information is needed, visit GSK For You or contact the GSK Response Center at 888-825-5249 Monday- Friday, 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM ET


Health Care Professional Inquiries: Contact GSK Medical Information: or call 877-475-6448 (Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM ET) for medical information. Product-specific information is only available to healthcare providers. 







Coronavirus & Lupus: Q&A

New Resource Helps With Hydroxychloroquine Prescription Fulfillment


Travis Smith, Director of Government Relations for the Lupus Foundation of America, provides an update on recent efforts to expand the supply and access to hydroxchloroquine and choloroqine for people with lupus. He also discusses a new online resource developed to provide state-by-state actions and policies for fulfilling prescriptions of the medications.

LFA Tackles Hydroxychloroquine Shortages for Treating Lupus

The Lupus Foundation of America is leading efforts to tackle the shortage of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and chloroquine (Aralen) that developed after reports these drugs might be effective for treating people seriously ill with COVID-19. Pat Wildman, Lupus Foundation of America Vice President for Advocacy & Government Relations, gives a status report on the Foundation's actions to date to ensure a supply of these drugs for people with lupus.

Q&A with Dr. Ashira Blazer


Dr. Alisha Blazer, a Rheumatologist at New York University's Langone Medical Center, and a member of the Lupus Foundation of America's multidisciplinary expert Medical-Scientific Advisory Council provides the answers to the most-asked questions about lupus and coronavirus. This update was recorded on March 20, 2020.

Virtual Programs & Events

Support Groups

We know these are scary times but please also know you are not alone. Although our in-person support groups are suspended until further notice we will be here for you every step of the way. Find out how. 


Don't miss the opportunity to learn from some of the world's leading lupus experts from the comfort and privacy of your home. Participate in several or just the one that most interests you. Learn more.

Talk About It Series

#TalkAboutIt is our new Q&A series where we feature lupus warriors, health care professionals, caregivers and other experts in their field. 

No one should fight alone... so let's talk about it!


Blog: Lupus Warrior's Perspective

Lupus Warriors from around the state talk about what it's like to live with lupus. 

Read more

Shopping Safely

Restaurant Food Delivery

Delivery companies like GrubHub, Postmates and UberEats are offering no-contact delivery to your home from your favorite restaurants. Some are even offering free delivery.

Stores offering special shopping hours for those most at-risk

Some stores like Target (each Wednesday they have reserved the first hour of shopping to support vulnerable guests including the elderly and guests with underlying health conditions) are offering special shopping hours for elderly and those at-risk like lupus patients. Check out stores near you and their policies. 


Drugstores Offer Safe Services

Stores such as Walgreens and CVS are offering new services to help minimize your exposure to risks such as Rx delivery, drive-thru shopping, and social distancing support including pharmacy/video chat. 




Finding Joy

Color Our Collections

Libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world are sharing free coloring sheets and books based on materials in their collections. Find them here.

Host a virtual movie night with friends and family

Netflix Party is a gathering of a groups of friends or family where you can get together virtually and watch your favorite Netflix titles on your computers at the same time. Grab your popcorn and enjoy movie night! The extension also comes with a chat room, so you can share your reactions to the programs as you watch.


33 national park tours you can explore virtually

Here are 33 National Park Tours you can take virtually from your home. 



Take a tour of museums around the world from home

Virtual-reality tours from the couch of some of the countries coolest places

Keep (or get) fit while at home

Get in the right headspace through meditation

With masses of people stuck at home amid coronavirus, the popular meditation and mindfulness app, Headspace, is offering free content to help manage stress and anxiety. 

Stream the Northern Lights Live from Home

Live cam located underneath the aurora oval at the Churchill Northern Studies Center in Churchill, Manitoba. Other live streams are available on their website  


See them here. 

A Low Impact Exercise Routine for Lupus

If pain or fatigue-or both- have you struggling just to get through the day, working out is likely the last thing on your mind. But exercise, especially gentle strength training, can improve some lupus symptoms. Read more here. 


54 free online courses from the best colleges in the US!

Online learning sites like Coursera and edX are offering free and low-priced courses taught by instructors from the best universities in the country. Learn more about them here.


Virtual Play Dates

Have an astronaut in space read your children (and you) a book

Story Time from Space - While in space, astronauts are videotaping themselves reading these books to the children of Earth.

At-home learning resources to keep kids learning (and occupied)

Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these links for reading, math, and educational games. 

Scholastics Learn At Home




20 screen-free things to do with your kids indoors when school is closed

Staying indoors to keep safe and healthy is imperative but it doesn’t have to be boring or detrimental. After your children have finished with their e-learning tasks, click here to see what you could do with them.