Orange County to start vaccinating those 40 and over at convention center

Mayor Jerry Demings, Gov. Ron DeSantis clash over age difference

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said based on demand at the Orange County Convention Center, lowering the age requirement for the vaccine is the right thing to do.

Appointments for anyone 40 and older opens online beginning at 9 a.m. Monday.

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But the decision by Demings is a bit different than the order signed late last week by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Demings said the site has not been reaching its 3,000 shot-a-day capacity.

“We are reasonably confident that we can open it up,” he said.

This new age group is now joining all educators, police and fire employees and a few others now able to get the vaccine at the site.

However, the move came with some backlash from DeSantis on Friday.

DeSantis issued an executive order saying anyone 50 and over may get the vaccine as early as Monday.

“It’s not his decision to make,” DeSantis said. “There’s a structure in the state of Florida on how these decisions are made.”

Demings disagreed.

“Obviously, as the Mayor of Orange County, I have to make decisions in the best interest of the residents here in Orange County,” he said.

Demings said he sent this letter to the state last week before he lowered the age requirement to 40.

“What they said was we understand we can’t say you can’t do it, so we will inform our superiors here and I assume that’s what happened, but either way I got elected to represent the people of Orange County and I’m going to do that,” he said.

DeSantis hasn’t said if he’d try to block the plans in place by Orange County, adding at last check that local officials are expected to follow the state’s executive order.

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