Some Floridians who are eligible to receive a vaccine have said they can’t secure an appointment.
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith said high-risk individuals under the age of 65 should be able to receive a vaccine outside of a hospital.
According to an executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis, Smith said people with comorbidities must receive the vaccine in a hospital. Smith said hospitals are not receiving regular vaccine shipments.
“It’s not a question of eligibility. The governor has already declared them eligible. It’s a question of access,” Smith said.
Smith said just more than 100,000 Floridians under the age of 65 with comorbidities have been vaccinated. He said adding health departments and private pharmacies such as Publix, Walmart and Winn Dixie would dramatically increase the amount.
“I don’t have a clear answer for people because every hospital is doing things on their own,” Smith said.
Lourdes Nunez, 62, of Orlando, said she suffers from an auto-immune disorder. Nunez said despite her doctor recommending she get a vaccine, she can’t find a hospital with an available appointment.
“I know it is not only me. A lot of people I know, are expecting to have the vaccine pretty soon, " said Nunez.
Nunez also said that she won’t feel comfortable when she leaves her house until she receives a vaccine.
“I hope we can get it,” Nunez said.
It is unclear when Gov. DeSantis will make a change to the executive order. Earlier in the week, he announced plans to expand vaccine eligibility. This would eventually allow law enforcement officers and teachers age 50 and older to get the shot.
As of Wednesday night, Orlando Health’s website said it did not have any available first dose appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine.