Hundreds line up at federal vaccine site in Orlando as eligibility expands again

Floridians age 50 and older now eligible for COVID-19 shot

New FEMA vaccination site opens in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – Hundreds of people lined up Monday at Orlando’s federally supported mass vaccination site as vaccine eligibility in Florida has been expanded to include everyone 50 and older.

“I’ve been waiting. I’m going to be 60 in three months and as soon as I got my chance, I came over here and the process was really smooth,” Mike Brocket said.

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The location at the Valencia College West Campus was busy when it opened its doors, however, wait times diminished throughout the morning.

“All of our friends around the world need this vaccine and we shouldn’t waste it, so I think it was the right thing to move this up,” Brocket said.

The temporary site is in its third week of operation and officials said the location will only offer second doses for the next three weeks beginning Wednesday.

According to FEMA, the state is planning to offer the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine for the last two weeks of operations, which is scheduled for April 14 through April 28.

During a news briefing on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis pointed to a modest demand for the vaccine among people in the 60-64 age bracket, who became eligible for vaccinations last Monday. The governor added that he expects to open up vaccine eligibility to everyone shortly after this eligibility expansion.

“I think the demand has been relatively modest, certainly much more modest than it was at the end of December when we were doing the 65 and plus,” Desantis said. “So we think that this makes sense and I think we’ll see how it goes next week, but I think we will definitely be opening it up to everybody, certainly before May 1 and, and maybe much sooner than that, so stay tuned there.”

The governor has not given a timeline for when eligibility would open to everyone.

The FEMA-supported vaccination site in Orlando is open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. every day and is expected to be in operation until late April.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.