Florida taking steps to end ‘vaccine tourism’

Coronavirus

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida is now requiring people getting their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to prove they’re a resident of the Sunshine State.

Officials are hoping this is the end of “vaccine tourism,” and while many Floridians are happy to hear the news, just as many are upset.

In a letter from the Department of Health state officials said the priority goes to Florida residents and “seasonal residents.”

A seasonal resident is “any person who temporarily resides in this state for a period of at least 31 consecutive days in each calendar year, maintains a temporary residence in this state, returns to the state or jurisdiction of his or her residence at least one time during each calendar year, and is registered to vote or pays income tax in another state or jurisdiction.”

This only applies to individuals receiving their first dose. Those who have already received a first dose but do not have proof of residency will be eligible to receive their second dose in Florida.

“We are all Americans. I mean if they have the opportunity to get a shot, I believe they should. That is my feeling,” said snowbird Joseph Danca.

In order to prove residency, people must:

  • Provide the department with a copy of his or her valid Florida driver license or a copy of a valid Florida identification card
  • If a seasonal resident cannot meet the previous requirement they may…
    • Provide the department with a copy of two of the following that show proof of residential address:
      • A deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, mortgage payment booklet or residential rental or lease agreement.
      • One proof of residential address from the seasonal resident’s parent, step-parent, legal guardian or other person with whom the seasonal resident resides and a statement from the person with whom the seasonal resident resides stating that the seasonal resident does reside with him or her.
      • A utility hookup or work order dated within 60 days before registration in the medical use registry.
      • A utility bill, not more than 2 months old.
      • Mail from a financial institution, including checking, savings, or investment account statements, not more than 2 months old.
      • Mail from a federal, state, county, or municipal government agency, not more than 2 months old.
      • Any other documentation that provides proof of residential address as determined by department rule.
  • A minor must provide the department with a certified copy of a birth certificate or a current record of registration from a Florida K-12 school and must have a parent or legal guardian who meets the requirements of No. 1.

“I understand the frustration of the permanent residence.It is difficult for them because of the trials and tribulations of getting online or making phone calls,” said snowbird Laorraine Danca.

People who have already gotten the first dose of the vaccine but are not residents are still allowed to get the second dose. This applies to people getting the vaccine for the first time and it’s already in place.

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