Law enforcement from 4 Florida counties begin receiving Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Gov. Ron DeSantis hosts event as deputies, officers get vaccinated

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Florida received its first doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine late Thursday and by Friday morning officials were preparing to give out the first shots to law enforcement officers from Polk, Lake, Hardee and Highlands County.

The vaccination event took place Friday afternoon at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Winter Haven.

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“This will do here 2,000 law enforcement personnel age 50 and up in all those counties,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “And we think that is going to be the vast, vast majority of those folks who qualify in that age group.”

DeSantis recently expanded the vaccine eligibility to first responders over 50 years old and said he believes the state will be able to vaccinate all of that group with its allotted amount of the J&J vaccine.

“We have statewide about 20,000 sworn law enforcement officers who are 50 or older,” DeSantis said. “And so with this initial Johnson & Johnson, we can do every single one of them who wants it, we could do the fire 50 and up who wants it, we can do all the people in the school system age 50 and up and so it’s exciting to be able to complement the efforts that we’ve been doing on many of these other avenues.”

The governor previously stated that Florida would receive more than 175,000 doses of the J&J vaccine this week. DeSantis said, so far, the state has received “about 60,000” with more expected in the coming days.

“So we’re not getting any more Johnson & Johnson for, I think, two more weeks. So this 175,000 is it for the next two weeks but then we think the production will ramp back up, and then we’ll start getting more and more J&J,” DeSantis said.

The FEMA vaccine site in Orlando is also administering the J&J vaccine.