JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – All Floridians age 50 and up became eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday modified his executive order lowering the age, saying nearly 70% of Florida’s seniors have been vaccinated and demand is dropping among those currently eligible for shots.
Through Sunday, only people age 60 and up, health care workers, school employees, first responders age 50 and older, and people deemed medically vulnerable to COVID-19 by a doctor were eligible for shots in Florida.
“We’re excited about the progress,” DeSantis said. “I think the demand is softened enough that opening up to 50-plus will be good. We’ll monitor to see how next week goes.”
There were long lines waiting when the Federal Emergency Management Agency vaccination site at the Gateway Mall opened Monday morning -- longer lines than seen since the site opened weeks ago. There was also extra security and a television production company was setting up in anticipation of Vice President Kamala Harris stopping by the site Monday afternoon during a visit to Jacksonville.
“It was very easy,” Linda Knight said after getting her first dose. “They explained everything before they did it to me and then they sat me down for 15 minutes so that when I stand up, they know that I was already. When I stood up, I looked at that young man I said, ‘I feel good!’”
Later in the day, before Harris’ visit to the site, there were smaller lines. News4Jax photographer Kevin Talley was eligible to get the vaccine Monday and breezed right through in less than 20 minutes.
“I am surprised how efficient it is. It’s not a waste of time. You go in, you give them your information, they give you a shot,” he said. “You’re in there 20 minutes. You’ve got a wait 15 minutes afterward for a reaction. It’s efficient.”