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DeSantis Wants Elderly Vaccinated Next, 'Where The Risk Is The Greatest'

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel, Joe Byrnes
The Florida Channel
Gov. Ron DeSantis was in The Villages on Tuesday to announce the elderly will come before essential workers in receiving the coronavirus vaccine.

A CDC panel recommends essential workers as well as people 75 and older come after front-line health workers and nursing homes, but the governor says that is not binding.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he will break with a federal advisory panel if necessary to ensure Florida’s elderly are next in line for a coronavirus vaccine.

He was at UF Health in the retirement community The Villages on Tuesday to announce the elderly will come before essential workers such as first responders, educators, corrections officers, and food and agricultural workers.

The governor’s comments came as two Villages residents became the first community members in the state to be inoculated, after front-line health care workers and nursing home residents.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel recommends people 75 and older and essential workers come next, but DeSantis says the recommendations are not binding.

“As we get into the general community, the vaccines are going to be targeted where the risk is the greatest, and that is in our elderly population. We are not going to put young healthy workers ahead of our elderly vulnerable population.”

The governor didn’t disclose the age cutoff for the Florida policy but discussed the 70-and-older population during a news conference Monday in Key Biscayne.

A 2020 census projection estimated about 3.17 million people in Florida were 70 or older.

DeSantis says some 82 percent of coronavirus deaths are in the elderly.

“So if you can get a huge amount of those people vaccinated, you are going to reduce that mortality. You’re going to reduce the number of people coming into the hospitals,” he says.

Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Copyright 2020 WMFE. To see more, visit

Amy Green - WMFE