Vaccine eligibility expanded to Floridians age 60 and up. FEMA is helping to expand the coverage with Gov. DeSantis.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — With Florida on Monday opening up vaccinations for the first time to people age 60 and up, Lynn Duke wanted to be among the first people in her age category to get the shot.

She arrived at a FEMA mass vaccination site at a community college campus in Orlando at 6:15 a.m. and was out of observation a little after 7:30 a.m.

Florida previously had limited shots to people 65 years old and up, frontline health care workers, law enforcement, firefighters and school employees. Gov. Ron DeSantis extended eligibility starting Monday to those 60 and over.

Given a choice between the Pfizer two-shot treatment and Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, Duke picked the single shot. Most of the scores of people waiting with her for the shot were in her age group, she said.

Duke said she had no problem waiting until now to get the vaccine. Until vaccinations ramped up recently, she hadn’t been expecting to get a shot until May.

“I’m 61 and have no other risk factors so I understand there are other people who need it more than I do,” Duke said.

The latest Department of Health statistics show that statewide, roughly 4,204,200 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. About 2,323,400 have complete their shot regiment, whether it is the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna options.

Florida has more than 21.4 million residents, including 17.7 million residents who are age 16 and up and would be eligible for at least one of the vaccines if there were no age restrictions imposed by the state.

The expanded vaccine criteria comes amid the state’s Sunday report of 30 more resident deaths from the virus for a total of 32,255. In Florida, 3,699 more positive COVID-19 cases were reported to bring the total to 1,976,808.


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