KEY LARGO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that Florida will soon reach 1 million seniors vaccinated in the state.
DeSantis — who continued to defend his decision to go against CDC guidelines and focus vaccination efforts on those residents 65-years-old and older — said close to 20% of that age group in the state has received at least a first dose of the vaccine.
As of Friday morning, the 833,578 people 65 and above had received at least one shot. The state is hoping to increase the number of seniors that are getting the vaccine, but DeSantis said the supply has been slow to arrive.
“We’re in a situation where we did over 400,000 shots last week, Monday through Sunday. This week, we probably aren’t going to reach that just simply because we’re not getting enough vaccine,” he said. “We have places that can do more, and we want them to do more, and if we get more than 266,000 doses [next week], we will be able to do a lot more very quickly.”
DeSantis the state expected to see an increase in the number of vaccines coming to the state this week, but that didn’t happen. Some vaccination sites are ready to handle two to three times more patients that are currently being served each day, he added.
Deaths continue to rise following a December spike in cases.
The Florida Department of Health on Thursday reported 163 additional coronavirus-related deaths. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 25,128 people in Florida have died related to the virus.
In Jacksonville, all first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at two senior center sites have been distributed, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday evening. Starting next week, there will be just one state-run site in the city delivering first doses.
President Joe Biden pledged to have 100 million shots of vaccine administered during his first 100 days in office. To reach that, the Biden administration would need to increase the vaccination efforts of the previous administration. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the administration is working to figure out what is slowing the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
DeSantis said the Biden administration is also considering stopping the practice of holding second doses in an effort to get more first doses to the population, an idea that DeSantis has also floated.
“Now, if you do that, you probably have some more right away for first doses but you got to plan for the second dose. So and I would tell seniors is Florida is committed to the two-dose regimen for Pfizer and Moderna,” DeSantis said.
In total, more than 70 vaccination sites have been opened in Florida in partnership with local communities and hospitals. Find the full list HERE.