DeSantis dropping Covid vaccine eligibility to 18

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference in Hialeah, Fla. Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo



Governor Ron DeSantis announced plans on Thursday to open approval for Covid-19 vaccines to people who are at least 18 years old Years old, a week after criticizing a Democratic mayor for lowering age requirements.

In a press release and videoDeSantis said there will be enough shots for younger residents as 70 percent of Florida seniors have been immunized against the coronavirus. Starting March 29, DeSantis will lower the age of eligibility to vaccination to 40 years and a week later to lower it to adults 18 and over.

“While the Biden government has set a May 1st goal for all adults to be eligible to be vaccinated, Florida is pleased to announce that all adults ages 18 and older will be eligible for the vaccine starting Monday April 5th Question will come, “explained DeSantis.“We have made great strides and I look forward to continuing to work hard to make sure that anyone in Florida who wants a shot can get a shot.”

More than 5.2 million Floridians were vaccinated early Wednesday, and DeSantis has announced that more doses will be available in the next few weeks as demand falls from younger residents. His vaccine distribution plan in December gave top priority to health care workers, nursing home residents and seniors 65 and over. In some parts of the state, demand declined a few weeks ago.

The deadline until May 1st President Joe Biden announced on March 11th spurred a race between Florida and other states to quickly open approval for Covid-19 vaccines. Georgia residents who are 16 years or older was eligible for the vaccine on Thursday. Alaska, Arizona, and Mississippi also offer shots for residents 16 and over. Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the vaccine would be available to all residents in the next few weeks.

DeSantis’s announcement Thursday came after Orange County’s Democratic Mayor Jerry Demings lowered age eligibility to 40 and older at a convention center vaccination site last week. When asked about a locally elected officer who would lower the vaccination age, DeSantis replied, “It’s not his decision.”

But Demings chuckled this week when asked if he feared retaliation from the governor.

“These are just words he uses, you know, so we’re going to go beyond that,” Demings said.

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