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Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida's COVID-19 vaccine supply has become 'stagnant'

Governor plans to lower age of eligibility to 55 and older 'hopefully pretty soon'
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives a COVID-19 update in Palm Harbor on March 17, 2021.jpg
Posted at 3:59 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 15:59:58-04

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WTXL) — Admitting that Florida's COVID-19 vaccine supply has been "flat" and "stagnant" of late, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday he hopes to allow more residents to get inoculated "hopefully pretty soon."

Speaking at a new COVID-19 vaccination site in Palm Harbor, the governor said Florida will "definitely" lower the age of eligibility to 55 and older "sometime in March."

"I think we can get that done, even at the current stagnant supply," DeSantis said. "We just want to make sure when we do the announcement that we don't create a crush on the system."

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives COVID-19 update in Palm Harbor

Currently, Florida residents who are 60 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The governor said Florida is due to get around 400,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines over the next few weeks, but no more doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the "foreseeable future."

"For the next two or three weeks, we're not anticipating any new J&J," DeSantis said. "I don't know what the issue with that is. Hopefully we'll get more of that soon."

For that reason, in part, the governor said he's not announcing any changes to the age of eligibility just yet, only saying it will happen sometime this month.

"We're still not where we want on supply. Our supply is pretty stagnant," DeSantis said. "We've been very flat now for a couple weeks, and it looks like the couple weeks into the future will be very flat as well."

President Joe Biden is directing all states to make the coronavirus vaccine available to all adults 18 and older by May 1.

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, 4,464,035 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 in the Sunshine State, including 3,007,550 people who are 65 and older.

The governor said that starting this weekend, Walgreens will increase the number of pharmacies administering the COVID-19 vaccine to 223 statewide, and CVS will increase its number of participating pharmacies to 182.