Ron DeSantis dangles hope: Vaccines for everybody
Ron DeSantis. Image via WESH.

DeSantis Publix
As always, it all depends on supply.

Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is slowing down among people 65 and older, and Gov. Ron DeSantis says that’s a good sign for the 60 and up and 55 and up age groups.

When vaccine eligibility drops to 60 and older Monday, people 60 to 64 won’t have to compete with nearly as many of their elders trying to get a shot.

DeSantis on Thursday said the state has probably vaccinated 3 million people 65 and older, but for sure more than 2.7 million, according to Department of Health data from Wednesday morning. Nearly 4.5 million people in that age cohort live in Florida.

Florida received its first shipment of 175,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine last week. However, the Sunshine State might not receive another shipment of that formula until the week after next, the Governor said.

But when production ramps up, Florida could soon approve COVID-19 vaccines for those 55 and older and even younger age groups.

“If the supply floodgates really open, we could be in a position sometime in April where it’s just available and people can get it,” DeSantis said.

The federal emergency use authorizations only OK’d Pfizer’s shot for people 16 and older and Moderna’s and J&J’s formulas for people 18 and older.

The Governor was speaking in Lake City Thursday morning to announce a vaccine surge in rural Columbia County, which is behind the state average in senior coverage.

“If you surge vaccines at the right time and you have good folks working to get the shots in arms, you can move those numbers up very quickly,” DeSantis said.

Later Thursday, the Governor plans to announce that the state will add more Walgreens vaccination sites. Currently there are 12 Walgreens, 157 CVS, 730 Publix, 119 Walmart and Sam’s Clubs and 43 Winn-Dixies offering shots.

“That’s a pretty, pretty robust retail pharmacy footprint, and it is going to grow over the next week, which we are really excited about,” DeSantis said.

That announcement will come in Jacksonville, near the site of THE PLAYERS Championship golf tournament, which began Thursday morning. With DeSantis for the tournament was the First Lady and their three children in what the Governor called “bring your kid to work day.”

“That’s our old neighborhood, and Madison’s our only kid that really remembers us living there, so we’re looking forward to doing that,” DeSantis said.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


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