Gov. Ron DeSantis highlighted the state’s ongoing vaccination campaign at a drive-thru site at Lake Sumter State College Wednesday as Florida continues to see better news in the fight against COVID-19.
The “one and done” pod will be the first in the state exclusively using the one shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, DeSantis told reporters and supporters in Sumterville. A total of 1,000 shots will be available daily through Friday.
The Governor, who has evangelized for the “J&J” shot for some time now, continued to defend the “great vaccine” as key to the state’s strategy and said seniors were enthusiastic about getting “one shot and then go about your business.”
“We reached out to them and said, ‘You got a chance to do one and done, are you interested?'”
Almost 60% of the senior population has gotten a vaccine, a metric that convinces DeSantis his “Seniors First” agenda can give way to progressively younger cohorts, with the state poised to “definitely hit 3 million this week in jabs.”
Demand will slow down as the vaccination rate approaches 65%, DeSantis added.
Those age 60 to 64 are eligible Monday.
“As demand slows down, you have the ability to get folks” in that age cohort, DeSantis said.
Those 55 to 59 will follow “in due time, relatively soon,” then eligibility will be open to all as the Federal Pharmacy Program expands, DeSantis said.
Some regions’ seniors have been more receptive than others, he noted. A rural “lag” exists, with people in Putnam specifically resistant to a vaccination pod, according to DeSantis.
And though first responders age 50 and up are eligible, the Governor says demand has ebbed.
“We don’t have very many law enforcement 50 plus even asking for it at this point,” DeSantis said, “so we’re moving expeditiously through this.”
DeSantis also responded to accusations of vaccine favoritism from reporters on the scene, rejecting them as out of hand, saying that vaccinations had come to Democratic strongholds, including Leon, Alachua, Palm Beach, and Gadsden Counties.
“Leon County, 74%. You should look at how they performed in recent elections. I’ll leave that to you,” DeSantis snapped at a reporter.
The Governor noted also that Florida was the first state to “partner with African American churches,” as a “way to bring a lot of folks in who may not have access but may not want to do it unless they have someone they trust offering it to them.”