Gov. DeSantis says all Florida teachers eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, no matter their age

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 11:57 AM EST
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CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (WCJB) - Governor Ron DeSantis, in a press conference at a COVID-19 vaccine site in Crystal River in Citrus County, said teachers are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of age, per the federal government’s order.

This applies to pharmacies that get their vaccines through a federal program, not to state run sites, like county Health Departments.

Under DeSantis’ order, Florida limits the vaccine to educators 50 and older who work in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“The age-based approach, we think, is the most effective to reduce mortality, but at the same time the federal government is the one sending the vaccine. If they want it to be all ages, then they have the ability to do that so the pharmacies are obviously going to accommodate that, the [federal] sites are going to accommodate that, but our number one goal right now is to get through the senior population,” said DeSantis.

The CVS Pharmacy chain, along with Publix, Walgreens and Walmart as the publishing of this article, said they are following Biden administration guidelines allowing daycare workers, preschool teachers and educators in elementary, middle and high schools to be vaccinated with no age limit.

DeSantis said he expects the state to get around 175,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine soon, enough to last about two weeks.

He noted the particular usefulness of the new vaccine, since it is easier to distribute and only requires one dose.

“I think it’s a very effective way to go and vaccinate a lot of people, you can even go on site to some of these places, you do one shot, and then you don’t have to worry about it.” said Governor Desantis, comparing it to the other vaccines available right now.

“You know, these sites are great with the Pfizer. But every time we go into like a senior community or a church or something like that, you got to set it up to come back and 21 days or 28 days with Moderna, with the J and J (Johnson and Johnson), you can take it everywhere you do it and you never got to go back to that place, you can just keep going and doing everyone’s one dose.”

Governor Desantis said over 50 percent of Florida’s senior population have already received at least one dose, but says Citrus County is falling behind that average. While the Governor was speaking, seniors lined in their cars behind him, waiting for their vaccines in Crystal Square.

“We think it’s important with here in Crystal River and throughout Citrus County, be able to get their senior coverage rate over 50% statewide. We’re at over 54%. Here, we’re in the 40s. And so we want to be able to increase that.”

RELATED STORY: DeSantis: Doctors to determine who is ‘extremely vulnerable’ to COVID-19

DeSantis also noted two new Walgreen Pharmacies would be getting COVID 19 vaccines in Citrus County, one at 310 NE US Highway 19 in Crystal River and another at 104 South Apopka Avenue in Inverness.

He anticipates fire, law enforcement, and educators to be next in line, along with those 50 and up, but says they are not finished working through the senior population.

“Our number one goal right now is to get through the senior population. I don’t know how many seniors ultimately are going to want it, it’s not going to be 100%. But if I’m seeing 80% in St. John’s already, I got to think that we’re going to be able to get to 65, 70, 75% here in Citrus as well.”

RELATED STORY: Why you should consider the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

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