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DeSantis: Florida not expected to receive more J&J vaccine for 2-3 weeks

Gov. Ron DeSantis during a press conference in Palm Harbor.
Gov. Ron DeSantis during a press conference in Palm Harbor. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida residents waiting to get the one-dose coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson might have to wait a while longer.

During a press conference in Palm Harbor, DeSantis said it could be up to two to three weeks before the state receives any more of the vaccine.

“If you’ve been waiting for J&J, and you have an opportunity to get a Pfizer or Madonna, I’d recommend getting the Pfizer the Madonna if you can do it, because I can’t guarantee you there’s J&J is going to be available next week or the week after even unfortunately, you know we’re looking maybe two to three weeks into the future where we don’t have J&J allocation,” he said. “It’s beyond our control.”

Officials said the FEMA vaccine site in Jacksonville got a shipment of 6,000 doses of J&J on Wednesday but the site is expected to run out soon. It will be their last shipment of J&J until the state says otherwise, a spokesperson said.

DeSantis said once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine production ramps back up, and if the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines keep flowing, he hopes to expand the age group eligible for the shot.

“I’m not going to announce yet, but we definitely will lower to 55 sometime in March,” DeSantis said.

The pressure to expand the number of people eligible to get the vaccine comes as demand continues to slump at sites around the state.

Residents 60 and older became eligible for the vaccine on Monday and DeSantis said there are 1.4 million Floridians in the 60 to 64 age bracket.

“So I think it’s been a little bit easier to get the appointments than maybe it had been two months ago, and obviously, as the supply increases, we’re going to be continuing to do that,” DeSantis said.

It will be even easier to get the vaccine after the announcement that CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are adding more vaccine sites.

Beginning this weekend, Walgreens is increasing the number of stores offering vaccines, from 126 to 223 throughout the state of Florida. CVS is also increasing from 157 stores to 182 stores.

About the Author:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.