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DeSantis Lowers COVID Vaccine Eligibility Age To 50 And Older

Gov. Ron DeSantis
News Service of Florida
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The governor also said the state could soon be seeing as many as 42,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses next week, and possibly more in the two weeks after that.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Florida will lower the coronavirus vaccination age eligibility to 50 effective Monday.

"I'm going to sign an executive order this morning," he said Friday at a news conference in Tallahassee.

On Monday, residents age 60 were added to the eligibilty pool. Florida has also expanded eligibility to include first-responders, health care workers, school staff and people whose doctors say they are medically vulnerable.

“We think we’ve done pretty good this week with the 60 to 64, but quite frankly, we think even that even on current vaccine allotments that opening it up will be good," DeSantis said.

DeSantis said the demand for the vaccine has been "relatively modest."

"Certainly, much more modest than at the end of December when we were doing 65 and plus," he said. "So we think this makes sense."

DeSantis also repeated his goal that vaccinations would likely be available to "everybody" before the end of April.

“We’ll see how it goes next week,” he said.

The governor also said the state could soon be seeing as many as 42,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses next week, and possibly more in the two weeks after that.

On Wednesday, he said shipments of Johnson & Johnson doses were on hold, with none expected over the next three weeks.

"I think this is a dynamic situation," DeSantis said Friday. "Obviously, planning massive J&J outreach without knowing whether you're going to get it makes it a little more difficult."

DeSantis’ announcement came after some local officials said they planned to lower the age threshold to 50, or, in the case of Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, to 40 beginning Monday. Miami-Dade also said its county-run sites will open to anyone 40 and over beginning March 29.

DeSantis bristled when asked about the Orange County plans, saying “it’s not his decision to make.”

He then called on Demings to do more to vaccinate older residents, saying that Orange County has only vaccinated about 63 percent of people age 65 or older.

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