Gov. DeSantis: Decreasing vaccine demand ‘going to be a consistent issue going forward’

This comes after an 11-day pause last month on COVID-19 vaccinations using Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday talked about the declining number of Floridians getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I think this is going to be a consistent issue going forward,” DeSantis said when asked at a news conference in Temple Terrace about decreasing vaccine demand. “We are doing public service announcements. We are working with folks in going communities to present the facts on it, but ultimately I think almost all the high-risk people who wanted the vaccine have gotten it.”

This comes after an 11-day pause last month on COVID-19 vaccinations using Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot.

The federally-supported vaccination site at Gateway Mall in Jacksonville -- the largest hub for vaccinations in Northeast Florida -- has the J&J vaccine. But since the J&J vaccine pause was put into effect and lifted, it has had some of the lowest turnouts. The Gateway Mall site is able to administer as many as 3,000 doses per day, but in the last week, on average, the site has administered 161 doses per day.

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that his administration’s goal was for 70% of adult Americans to get at least one COVID-19 shot by July 4.

Starting this week, the president directed all federal pharmacy partners to begin offering walk-in hours for vaccinations. Retail pharmacy CVS announced Wednesday that it’s already started accepting walk-ins at 782 of its Florida locations.

“You’ll soon be able to get vaccinated without an appointment at the vast majority of our 40,000 pharmacy locations across the country,” Biden said.

The president also addressed the news that the Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the two-dose Pfizer vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 15 by next week.

“My hope is that if the vaccine is authorized, parents will take advantage of it and get their kids vaccinated,” Biden said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there was still no word from the Florida Division of Emergency Management on what its plans are if the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extend emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to children as young as 12.

Already, 16- and 17-year-olds in Florida are required to fill out a form with a parent or guardian in order to get the Pfizer vaccine at a state-run site.

About the Author:

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.