Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that he will be dropping the age restriction for the COVID vaccine. Beginning April 5, anyone 18 or older will be eligible for a vaccine. Currently, anyone 40 or above is eligible to schedule an appointment for the vaccine.
DeSantis issued a news release and video stating more vaccines will be available for younger residents, the reason being 70 percent of senior citizens in Florida have been vaccinated.
“We have made great progress and I look forward to continuing to work hard to make sure everyone in Florida who wants a shot, can get a shot.” DeSantis said in a video.
However, a week prior to this announcement, DeSantis criticized Mayor Jerry Demings of Orange County, saying that ,“It’s not his decision to make” in response to Demings’ decision to lower eligibility age to 40 at a county convention center vaccination site.
On March 11, President Biden announced a May 1 deadline to have all Americans to be eligible for a COVID vaccine from one of the three manufacturers. This deadline seemingly propelled states, including Florida, to quickly open eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Alaska, Arizona, Mississippi, and Georgia are among states that have recently opened up eligibility for residents 16 and over. California and New York are expected to open eligibility in the coming weeks similarly to Florida.
Though DeSantis ruled the eligibility age will be open to those 18 and over, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for those aged 16 and over. This means people 16 and over can receive the Pfizer vaccine, and those 18 and over can receive the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
According to the state’s Department of Health, 5.2 million people in Florida have been vaccinated at least once, while 2.8 million are fully vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported about 85 million Americans had received one vaccine, while more than 46 million have been fully vaccinated.
The state is expected to receive 683,000 doses this week. This is due to large shipments of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Every Publix pharmacy location in the state has vaccines available. Vaccine locations also include CVS, Walmart and Sam’s Club, and FAMU’s Lawson Center. Vaccination manufacturers will vary depending on location.
Residents can pre-register at https://myvaccine.fl.gov/#/ and be notified once eligible.