TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida on Monday expanded its vaccine eligibility to anyone 60 or older.
Gov. Ron DeSantis recently made the announcement during a news briefing from Tallahassee.
“I’m happy to announce ... we will be lowering the age in the state of Florida to 60 plus for vaccinations,” DeSantis said. “That will apply across the board at all of the state pods, all of the pharmacies, all of the different drive-thru sites that are being operated.”
The governor said the decision comes as the state is seeing a “softening” of demand among the 65 and older population.
“They’re (vaccine appointments) not gone in 10 minutes like they were a month and a half ago,” DeSantis said. “Sometimes the window will be open for an hour, hour 15, hour and a half. And so we think that that’s a good sign because we think that we’ve reached critical mass on the senior population .”
DeSantis said time will tell whether demand will be the same.
“I would imagine that demand will be slightly lower for 60 to 64 than it was for above 65, but we do anticipate the demand to still be pretty robust when you’re talking about this so I’m excited about that,” the governor said.
This expansion comes after the governor already opened up vaccinations in Florida to law enforcement officers, firefighters and school staff who are 50 are older, in addition to those deemed “extremely vulnerable” to COVID-19 by a doctor. Beyond that expansion, a federal directive is allowing all school staff and child care workers to receive the vaccine regardless of age at all federally backed vaccination sites, which includes pharmacies taking part in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
Kent Donahue, of the Florid Department of Health in Orange County, said the department is working to make changes to their appointment website, CDRHealthPro, in order to allow those who are medically vulnerable to sign-up as long as they have a form from their physician.
“We want to get to the mass vaccination state and get into the community immunity,” Donahue said. “We are trying to get those appointments up, we have plenty of vaccines here at the convention center.”
DeSantis also said Florida could soon receive another shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“It seems to be pretty popular,” he said.
The governor previously said the state would receive more than 175,000 doses of the J&J vaccine in the first round of shipments, which recently started but also said that the first round of doses would be all Florida would see for two weeks.