Gov. Ron DeSantis will sign an executive order today that opens eligibility even further from 60 years of age to 50. The governor made the announcement on Friday alongside Jared Moskowitz, state director of emergency management, in Tallahassee. 

DeSantis also said that the state will “definitely be opening vaccine eligibility to everybody before May 1.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis

“This past week with lowering it to 60, we saw some demand. But it was not in any way overwhelming,” he said. “Part of it is we have more distribution points than we did at the end of December. Part of it is people 60-64 qualified because they had comorbidities. Some may have been in law enforcement and education.”

Nearly 7 million Floridians have received at least one shot, whether it be the one-dose series in Johnson & Johnson or the first in a two-dose series of Moderna or Pfizer. Just over 3 million are residents 65 and older. DeSantis said the state’s closing in on 70% of the senior population being vaccinated. 

“We probably can get a little higher than that. I would say once you hit 75%, based on what we’re seeing with demand among seniors, that’s probably the high water mark. As you go down in age, the high water mark will go down,” he said.

DeSantis also said that the state is expected to receive 42,000 additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week. Two days ago, the state wasn’t expected to get any.  

As to the reception among those receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, DeSantis said it’s been great. 

“It was little concerning because of the way it was characterized as not as good as Moderna and Pfizer, even though the clinical data showed 100 percent effectiveness to prevent death and serious illness. It turns out anytime we’ve done these J&J drives, people love it,” he said. 

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A total of 130,875 Florida residents have completed the one-dose series, while a little more than 2.4 million completed their two-dose series. 

Monroe County is closing in on 18,000 residents receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. Around 9,700 have completed their series.

 

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