DeSantis order expands coronavirus vaccine options for high-risk people under 65
People under 65 who have previous conditions that put them at risk for the coronavirus could soon be receiving vaccines outside of hospitals late Friday, following a silent order from Governor Ron DeSantis.
The order states that doctors, licensed nurses, and pharmacists can vaccinate a person who is deemed extremely at risk by their doctor. The MP Carlos Guillermo Smith from D-Orlando confirmed to the emergency director Jared Moskowitz that the new regulation means that people under 65 years of age with certain diseases can get vaccines in pharmacies. It was not immediately clear what conditions might apply or what locations would participate.
Representatives from the governor's office, Florida Division of Emergency Management, and Publix did not immediately respond to emails and comments on Sunday.
Previously, people under 65 who were at high risk of disease could be vaccinated through certain hospital systems. However, the order did not contain any clear instructions as to who was entitled and left these decisions to the individual providers. This created confusion, and Tommy Inzina, CEO of BayCare Health System, told the Tampa Bay Times in early February that the grants "barely scratch the surface of those in need."
"It means things get better when it comes to increased supply and expanded access," Guillermo Smith said on Sunday. "It means we are going through an enormous process of vaccinating seniors before the governor begins to extend the eligibility to other groups."
He said he was not sure why the executive order did not appear to authorize state or federal vaccination centers to fire shots to younger, vulnerable populations.
Although the order contained little information about how the process would work, Guillermo Smith said he could follow a model seen in other states where people applying for vaccinations were asked to bring a doctor's letter.
"I would highly recommend those who don't already have it to get a doctor's letter as soon as possible so that they have the necessary documentation to get a vaccine," he said.
At a press conference on Thursday, DeSantis said the approval age for coronavirus vaccines would decrease in March and that the footage should be more widely available by April.
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