Gov. DeSantis to sign executive order prioritizing people 65 and up for COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus

TAMPA (WFLA) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says he will sign an executive order that prioritizes people aged 65 and older to receive the COVID vaccine next in the state.

Gov. DeSantis announced that he would be signing the executive order during a press conference at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola on Wednesday.

The governor said that after hospital workers and those in long-term care facilities have been vaccinated, the 65 and up population in the state of Florida will be the next priority for the vaccine.

He also said county health departments will soon be receiving small amounts of the vaccine for long-term care facilities.

“We’re going where the risk is greatest,” the governor said of the decision to prioritize people in the age group.

USF College of Public Health Associate Professor of Epidemiology Jason Salemi told 8 On Your Side he’s observed an uptick in Floridians older than 65-years-old testing positive for coronavirus.

“We have exceeded now the number of daily cases we’re experiencing relative to the summer surge and I think that’s why we continue to see hospitalizations going up,” Salemi said.

Salemi said he can understand the governor’s approach for putting the state’s senior population next in line for vaccine distribution.

“I would certainty understand why the governor wants to focus on our most vulnerable population in terms of severe illness and death,” he said.

Salemi also explained the argument for prioritizing younger essential workers while vaccine supply is still limited.

“If you focus on the essential workers you have the best opportunity to stop transmission of the virus and that community spread that’s ran so rampant,” he said.

Gov. DeSantis believes close to 70,000 shots have been administered in the state in the past week.

“We’re going to be getting hundreds of thousands of doses of this every week,” DeSantis said.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is likely to arrive in the state by February, the governor believes.

Currently, there is no plan for the vaccine to be mandated in the state.

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