By Isaac Morgan, Florida Phoenix
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday that COVID-19 vaccines could soon become available to all adults in Florida some time in April – a move similar to President Joe Biden’s directive urging all state officials to expand vaccine eligibility to anyone aged 18 and up by May 1.
DeSantis has been focused on prioritizing vaccines for seniors aged 65 and up, followed by residents 60 and older, but predicts that all adults in Florida could be eligible for vaccines as soon as next month.
As the percentage of Florida seniors getting vaccines rises, younger people from other groups will have the opportunity to get shots in arms, DeSantis said at a press conference Thursday in Panama City.
“We also feel that over the next however many weeks, we have an opportunity to really get it in that 55 and up category and potentially by sometime in April just open it up to everyone who wants it,” the governor said.
Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Florida ranks 40 out of the 50 states in the number of vaccine doses delivered to the state compared to shots administered, according to CDC data. But Florida ranks much higher when it comes to the elderly population, according to an analysis by the Florida Phoenix.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson vaccines will not be available for a while, as the demand has been high, DeSantis said during the news conference. He also encouraged residents to take advantage of the other two vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
It’s unclear exactly why the state may not receive more of J & J vaccines but DeSantis said “it may not be something that is available in the near future just due to the production.”
During the press conference, DeSantis doubled down on his call for residents deciding for themselves whether to get vaccinated, saying he is against any idea to require proof of vaccinations, such as so-called “vaccine passports.”