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Florida Vaccine Eligibility Drops To Age 40 On Monday, Then 18 A Week Later

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Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the latest vaccine eligibility expansion in a video on Thursday morning.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says "we're ready to take this next step" in announcing an expansion to eligibility on a YouTube video released Thursday.

Due to the growing number of people aged 50 and over who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced that beginning this Monday, March 29, all Floridians age 40 and older will be eligible.

He also said that all Floridians age 18 and older will be eligible to receive the shots starting on Monday, April 5.

“We’ve now vaccinated over 70% of the roughly 4.4 million seniors living in the state,” DeSantis said in a video posted to Twitter. “We’ve also made great progress on those aged 60 to 64, and on those aged 50 and older, and we’re ready to take this step.”

The governor's vaccine strategy in setting the original cutoff at 65, was based primarily on age and COVID-19 mortality rates.

The age was dropped to 60 on March 15 and then 50 Monday, with the expectation that it would likely be available to everybody before the end of April.

More than 5.2 million people in Florida have been at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Wednesday, according to the Florida Department of Health. Of those, more than 3.1 million were 65 and older — or 62.8% of the overall total.

"Florida's 'senior first' vaccine strategy is paying off," DeSantis said.

On Monday, a FEMA official said the increased demand at its Tampa site due to the increased eligibility has been manageable.

Orange County already lowered the eligibility age to 40 this week at its convention center location and filled 7,000 appointments in 13 minutes before closing registration. Miami-Dade County also previously announced it would lower the cutoff to age 40 this Monday.

President Joe Biden had targeted May 1 for vaccine eligibility for all adults, but a number of states opened up their eligibility earlier. Georgia, Alaska, Mississippi, Utah, and West Virginia are already offering the shots to people ages 16 and older. Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and North Dakota plan to lower the age on Monday.

“We have made great progress,” said DeSantis. “And I look forward to continuing to work hard to make sure everyone in Florida who wants a shot, can get a shot.”

All state-supported vaccination sites and their hours of operations are available at FloridaDisaster.org/Vaccine.

Floridians can also pre-register at myvaccine.fl.gov or call their county’s pre-registration line listed here. Questions can also be directed to the Florida Department of Health hotline at 1-866-779-6121.