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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Orange County Books 7,000 Vaccine Appointments In Minutes After Drop To Age 40

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP
The Florida Channel
An Orange County resident gets vaccinated for Covid-19 at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando on Monday, March 22, 2021. Monday is the first day of lower age requirements in Florida; age 50 statewide and age 40 in Orange County.

It took 13 minutes to fill the available spots for the county-run drive-thru location at the Orange County Convention Center, the first site in Florida to open eligibility to residents 40 and over.

Orange County lowered the eligibility age to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to 10 years lower than the state requirement on Monday morning and filled 7,000 appointments in 13 minutes before closing registration.

Reservations were required for the county-run drive-thru site at the Orange County Convention Center, the first location in Florida to open vaccine eligibility to residents 40 and older.

Statewide, Gov. Ron DeSantis is lowered the age of eligibility to 50 years old on Monday. The governor criticized the decision to drop the age another 10 years in Orange County, but so far hasn’t blocked the move.

“Trying to do healthy 40-year-olds over maybe finding some more seniors would not be direction that I would go,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis had previously said he would drop eligibility to 55 – but because the demand wasn’t as strong as expected, he decided to drop it to 50. He said the next step for the state would be to open up vaccine eligibility for everyone who is eligible under the FDA’s emergency use authorization.

“So the 16 or 18 up, depending on the shot, we probably can just open it up to everybody,” DeSantis said. “I can’t tell you exactly when that will happen, but I can tell you it will be before May 1.”

Miami-Dade County also announced it would lower the cutoff to age 40. Miami plans to make the move drop the age to 40 next week – and then drop it by 10 years each week after that until everyone is eligible.

Additionally, Florida is expanding vaccine eligibility for homebound seniors. People can email to be put on a list to get the vaccine brought to their home.

Florida Director of Emergency Management Jared Moskowitz said the state planned to send out 1,000 nurses over the weekend to do vaccinations at home.

“Since we launched that website, we have 4,000 new people that are asking us to come vaccinate them at their home that are homebound,” Moskowitz said.

Copyright 2021 WMFE.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.