DeSantis expands vaccine eligibility in Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Yes Market Media via Shutterstock

On Monday Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order extending vaccine eligibility to include the following groups in Florida:

  • Long-term care facility residents and staff
  • Persons 65 years of age and older
  • Health care personnel with direct patient contact
  • K-12 school employees 50 years of age and older
  • Sworn law enforcement officers 50 years of age and older
  • Firefighters 50 years of age and older

The announcement comes two days after the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for a third vaccine, this one to Johnson & Johnson. The newest vaccine has a lower success rate against infection than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, but it only takes one dose, not two, and can be stored at much more normal temperatures, accelerating access for many Americans.

DeSantis, who said last week he intends to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, cited its arrival as part of the reason for Monday’s expanded access. He said Monday that Florida expects to receive an initial shipment of 175,000 doses this week.

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“If you look at those numbers, the law enforcement and fire—some of them already got it because we focused on first responders,” DeSantis said in public comments delivered in Tallahassee. “You’re talking about 20,000, 25,000 people maybe, and then with the schools, we probably could do all of that 50 and up—K-12 personnel and police, fire—with just our J&J shipment.”

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