ORLANDO, Fla. – Starting Monday, individuals 40 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida.
The new age group was announced late last week by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday.
People in the new age group lined up at Orlando’s FEMA-run mass vaccination site at Valencia College’s west campus Monday morning.
John Papa, 40, was among the group getting his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine.
“I think it’s great. We came this morning because we worried that given only a week for 40 and over, we wanted to get it now before the rush next week,” Papa said.
Son Dinh, 35, is a nail salon owner and said he couldn’t wait for next week when the vaccine becomes available for all adults. He explained he’s high-risk and was able to get a doctor’s note in order to get the shot at the FEMA site.
“I got approved from the family doctor and I came here as soon as I can for the vaccine so everyone can be safe,” Dinh said.
Officials at the FEMA site said they are offering 3,000 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine for Monday. They are expected to have 1,000 for Tuesday but said that number could change.
“Typically, we run out of first doses before noon. Today, because we have 3,000, it may last a little bit longer but we are here till 7 p.m. to give people that need their second dose an opportunity to come out,” CJ Prudhom with FEMA explained.
Next Monday, everyone 18 and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine in the Sunshine State.
The Florida Department of Health clarified on Friday that Floridians who are 16 or older will be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine on April 5 as well. According to the department, the Pfizer vaccine is the exception because it is the only vaccine currently authorized for individuals under the age of 18.
The news comes as Florida is scheduled to receive more than 700,000 vaccine doses this week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 683,070 vaccine doses will be allocated in Florida next week, an increase of 146,420 from the previous week. The nearly 700,000 doses does not include shots provided by the federal government.
I’m pleased to announce that beginning this Monday, March 29, all Floridians age 40 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Beginning the following Monday, April 5, all Floridians age 18 and older will be eligible. pic.twitter.com/gJ0HHmiINW— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 25, 2021
Floridians are encouraged to pre-register at www.myvaccine.fl.gov. Once pre-registered, they’ll be contacted when the vaccine is available in their area. Floridians can also call the vaccine preregistration phone number for their county, listed here.
Vaccines are also available at 150 CVS locations, 125 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations, more than 70 Winn Dixie locations, soon-to-be over 600 Walgreens pharmacies, and every single one of the 730 Publix pharmacies across the state.