ORLANDO, Fla. – As shipments of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are on the rise, Florida is preparing to see a big increase in doses that will be sent throughout the state.
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.
The state on Wednesday reported nearly 5,200 new COVID-19 cases, bringing Florida’s total to more than 2 million since the virus was first detected here in March 2020. According to state data, 33,480 people have died from virus-related illnesses.
The boost in supply comes after Florida Director of Emergency Management Jared Moskowitz told Jacksonville television station WJAX-TV that the age requirement in the state could soon be lowered.
“I think next week you’ll see the governor go down another 10 years (to 40), like we did last week,” Moskowitz said.
On Monday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings lowered the age requirement at the Orange County Convention Center vaccination site to 40 and older, defying an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis that required age eligibility to be 50 and up.
Other Central Florida counties, however, have said they will continue to follow the state’s guidance.
“At this point, I don’t see us adjusting any. We want to follow the executive order of the state of Florida,” Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris said. “It’s established for a reason. The governor and his medical advisors made a decision and we’re going to follow the law of the land.”
Osceola County Health Department spokesman Jeremy Lanier echoed those remarks.
“In Osceola County, we’ll continue to operate 50 on up, as per the executive order from the governor,” Lanier said.
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News 6 reached out to the remaining Central Florida counties. Officials in Volusia and Brevard counties said they are also following the governor’s orders.
“In the days ahead, we may see a decrease in the age allowance in Osceola County, as per the governor. He may issue an additional executive order,” Lanier said. “But as of now in Osceola County, we’re sticking to the guidelines -- anyone ages 50 years and older. That’s how we’re proceeding.”