JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that Florida residents 40 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday.
Eligibility will then drop to 18 and older the following week, he said.
“We’ve now vaccinated over 70% of the roughly 4.4 million seniors living in the state,” DeSantis said in a video posted to Twitter. “We’ve also made great progress on those aged 60 to 64, and on those age 50 and older, and we’re ready to take this step.”
President Joe Biden had targeted May 1 for vaccine eligibility for all adults, but a number of states opened up eligibility.
Georgia on Thursday joined Alaska, Mississippi, Utah and West Virginia in offering the vaccine to everyone at least 16 years old. Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and North Dakota plan to lower their vaccination eligibility to all adults on Monday.
I’m pleased to announce that beginning this Monday, March 29, all Floridians age 40 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Beginning the following Monday, April 5, all Floridians age 18 and older will be eligible. pic.twitter.com/gJ0HHmiINW— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 25, 2021
For now, Florida residents 50 and older, as well as other select groups, are eligible for the shot.
“We’ve made great progress and I look forward to continuing to work hard to make sure everyone in Florida who wants a shot can get a shot, no mandate, but access for all,” DeSantis said.
But it’s still unclear how much the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine will increase.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management says they are “evaluating” federal and state-supported vaccine clinics to see if they need to expand or not.
Right now there are more vaccine clinics available than ever in Jacksonville, including federal-supported sites, mobile clinics, pop-ups and retail pharmacies.
Florida’s Division of Emergency Management said starting Friday there will be 24 state-run vaccination clinics across the state. Ian LeDuc, 16, just got his second shot at Gateway Regency Mall.
“I feel a ton better. I’m feeling a lot safer,” said LeDuc, who has Type 1 diabetes.
He’s hopeful that he will feel safer once his peers can get vaccinated too. The looming question is how long will the current model last at FEMA sites.
Right now, sites are doing 500 first doses. But, the rest is going to second doses.
The state says the sites are flexible depending on demand.
Floridians are encouraged to pre-register at myvaccine.fl.gov. Once pre-registered, residents will be contacted when the vaccine is available in their area. Floridians can also call the vaccine preregistration phone number for their county, listed here.
Vaccines are also available at 150 CVS locations, 125 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations, more than 70 Winn Dixie locations, soon-to-be over 600 Walgreens pharmacies, and every single one of the 730 Publix pharmacies across the state.