ORLANDO, Fla. – Vaccine eligibility expanded across Florida on Monday, allowing anyone 50 and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
At the same time, eligibility expanded even further at the Orange County Convention Center vaccination site. That location is now accepting vaccine appointments for anyone 40 and older.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced the expansion beyond Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order last week. 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 of Demings. “There’s a structure in the state of Florida on how these decisions are made.”
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.
Adding some confusion to the question of vaccine eligibility, Orlando City Commissioner Bakari Burns made an announcement at a jazz festival at Bill Fredrick Park at Lake Thorton on Saturday saying that anyone 18 and older could get the vaccine.
“We all need to consider getting the vaccine if you haven’t. The good thing about the event today is if you are 18 and up, you can get vaccinated,” Burns said in a Facebook live post.
Later, Burns clarified his statement and said anyone 18 and older with comorbidities. The words “18 and up” were heard by hundreds who rushed to the pop-up vaccination site to get a shot of getting the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
News 6 spoke with Burns after the Facebook Live video and asked if he could clarify how the pop-up clinic was able to disregard the state and county guidelines. Burns said he was only in charge of the jazz festival, not the clinic, which he said was controlled by the state’s Department of Emergency Management. Burns went on to say he stands by the current eligibility requirements.
[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida COVID-19 roundup: 3,987 new cases, 50+ vaccine eligible starting Monday ]
Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on March 22.
The Florida Department of Health reported 2,979 new cases on Monday, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,011,211 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.
Florida reported 39 new virus-related deaths Monday, bringing the death toll to 33,408. This number includes the 629 non-residents who died in Florida.
As of Monday afternoon, there were currently 2,896 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
Since March 1, 2020, 83,503 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 57 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Monday.
The percent of positive results was 6.69% Sunday out of 44,533 tests. The numbers reported daily by the state reflect test results from the day prior. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.
The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.
FDOH reports 2,740,267 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series.
As of Monday, 4,955,264 people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Below is the county-by-county breakdown of new cases as of Monday
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