COVID-19 vaccinations will open to all adults ages 18 and older beginning April 5. That’s according to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who released a nearly 3-minute video on Thursday morning announcing that those 40 and older can sign up next Monday, March 29 to obtain a shot. A week later, the eligibility expands to adults 18 and up. 

Just this week, vaccine eligibility opened up to those 50 and older per an executive order DeSantis signed last week. 

“We’ve made 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,” he said. 

Within his remarks DeSantis said Florida’s “Seniors First” vaccine strategy resulted in 3.2 million people aged 65 and older obtaining their shots. DeSantis said that equates to about 70% of that age population. 

“If you look at the hospital and case rates, they have plummeted since the ‘Seniors First’ strategy,” he said. “We want to keep that momentum as we expand eligibility to other age groups throughout the state of Florida,” he said. 

Vaccine opportunities continue to grow with more pharmacies providing the two-shot series in Moderna and Pfizer, as well as the one-shot Johnson & Johnson. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Moderna vaccine for individuals 18 and older. Authorized emergency use for the Pfizer vaccine is for individuals 16 and older. 

As for the one-shot Johnson & Johnson, the FDA authorized use of the vaccine for those 18 and older. 

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Monroe County is closing in on 19,500 residents receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. Around 10,600 have completed their series. 

DeSantis said the state received 42,000 additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week. 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 any time we’ve done these J&J drives, people love it,” he said. 

A mass vaccination clinic was held on March 24 at the Founders Park Community Center in Islamorada. Several hundred residents who signed up on the state’s website received the Johnson & Johnson shot by Walgreens pharmacists. 

In Marathon, appointments opened up for shots at Marathon City Hall for the week of March 29. A total of 400 vaccines will be administered by Baptist Health South Florida. 

Adding to the pharmacies in the Keys providing COVID-19 shots is the CVS Pharmacy on Stock Island and the Walgreens Pharmacy at MM 99.5 in Key Largo. People can visit cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine to learn more. 

Winn-Dixie pharmacies in Tavernier and Key West are providing the vaccine, as well as Publix pharmacies in Islamorada and Key Plaza Shopping Center. 

The Florida Health Department also continues vaccination clinics for those who signed up online via myvaccine.fl.gov.

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