MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he will lower the age requirement for residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine sometime this month, but is now giving a better idea of who will be eligible next.
During a news conference in Marion County on Friday, the governor said the age requirement, which currently stands at 65, will likely be dropped to 60 next, and the change is expected in the near future.
“The next change is going to be lowering the age from 65, down to either 60 or 55. Most likely we’ll do 60, and then we’ll do the next week 55 so stay tuned, that announcement will be coming relatively soon,” DeSantis said.
He said moving forward, he plans to keep the requirements age-focused, rather than offering vaccines to people based on their line of work.
“That’s what we’re going to do instead of trying to pick and choose different things. And so if you’re 60, you’re going to be able to go and it doesn’t matter what your vocation is or doesn’t matter if you’re retired, you’re going to be able to go,” he said. “Then when we do 55, that’ll be for everybody who is 55 and up.”
The governor said he thinks the age-based approach will allow the state to more quickly vaccinate those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
“If you look at COVID and the statistics nationally, 95.7% of all COVID-related mortality is age 50 or above. And so that’s why we did seniors first. And that’s why we will lower the age, but we’re still going to be focusing on those people who are 50, because that’s the best way to save the most lives,” DeSantis said.
The governor did not give an exact date for when the age will be lowered because he said it depends on vaccine supply and how soon the state can vaccinate seniors. He did, however, insist it will happen this month.
Under the governor’s most recent executive orders, the vaccine is available to anyone 65 and older, law enforcement officers who are 50 and older, firefighters 50 and older, K-12 school personnel 50 and older, health care workers and people who are “extremely vulnerable” with a signed form from a doctor.
However, FEMA-operated sites throughout Florida have expanded their coronavirus vaccine eligibility requirements to include K-12 teachers, child care staff and other school employees after a call from President Joe Biden to get those workers inoculated by the end of the month. Publix, CVS, Walmart and Winn-Dixie have also expanded their eligibility requirements to offer shots to those workers.
Click here to see an interactive map of vaccine sites in Central Florida.