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DeSantis: Age and not occupation will determine who is next in line for COVID vaccine in state-run sites

According to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the age for vaccine eligibility could be lowered to...
According to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the age for vaccine eligibility could be lowered to either ages 60 and older or ages 55 and older.(WCJB)
Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 2:39 PM EST
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - The age requirement for the coronavirus vaccine in Florida could soon be lowered.

According to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the age for vaccine eligibility could be lowered to either ages 60 and older or ages 55 and older.

“We’re going to do an age-based approach going forward. It will happen in March,” DeSantis said. “We will move the age down. I haven’t got that exact date because it’s dependent on the vaccine supply and it’s dependent on making sure we’re getting shots in the arms for seniors.”

The governor says there will be no occupation requirement in any state-led vaccination sites, which include any vaccine distributions run by county health departments. At this time, the state is allowing those 65 and older, health care workers, and police officers, firefighters and school employees over the age of 50, and those that physicians deem extremely vulnerable to the virus to receive a vaccine.

RELATED STORY: DeSantis expands COVID vaccine access to those that are ‘extremely vulnerable’

“Most likely we’ll do 60 and then we’ll do the next week 55,” DeSantis added. “If you’re 60, you’re going to be able to go. It doesn’t matter what your vocation is. It doesn’t matter if you’re retired, you’re going to be able to go.”

Meanwhile, Publix, CVS, Winn Dixie, Walmart and the four FEMA sites in the state are vaccinating all Florida teachers and child caregivers, including day care workers, of all ages.

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

DeSantis clarified the state’s plan during his press conference at the On Top of the World retirement community in Ocala. DeSantis and his team have identified Marion County as a place where more seniors could be getting vaccinated; the county has less than 50% of its seniors vaccinated so far.

DeSantis said the state’s vaccine plan is placing those most vulnerable in a position to receive the vaccine first.

“If you look at COVID and the statistics nationally, 95.7% of all COVID-related mortality is age 50 or above. That was why we did seniors first. That is why we will lower the age but we are still going to be focusing on those people who are 50 up because that’s the best way to save the most lives,” he said.

The Florida governor also said that the state’s 175,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrived on Thursday night.

RELATED STORY: More Winn Dixie stores will offer COVID vaccine, expands eligibility to educators and vulnerable individuals

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