Jan 22, 2021 - Health

Florida requiring proof of residency to get coronavirus vaccine

A man receives COVID-19 vaccine from a healthcare worker at a drive-thru site at Tropical Park on January 13, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine from a health care worker at a drive-thru site at Tropical Park on Jan. 13 in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida's surgeon general issued new guidelines on Thursday requiring people seeking COVID-19 vaccines to provide proof of permanent or seasonal residency.

Driving the news: Of the more than 1 million people who have received the first dose of the vaccine in Florida as of Wednesday, over 39,000 reside out of state, per data from the Florida Department of Health. The number and reports of out-of-state recipients have caused concern over what many have described as "vaccine tourism."

Details: The vaccine is currently available in Florida to people age 65 and older, long-term care facility residents and staff, health care personnel with direct patient contact, and individuals deemed extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

  • Now, per state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees' advisory, vaccine providers in Florida must also ensure recipients are permanent or seasonal residents, or health care workers who have direct contact with patients.
  • Those seeking a vaccine must show a valid Florida driver's license or a copy of a valid Florida identification card, per local TV station WTVJ.
  • Other documents, such as a mortgage and recent utility bills, can also be used as proof of residency in some cases.

What they're saying: "We're only doing [vaccines] for Florida residents," Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said at a news conference Tuesday, per CNN.

  • "You've got to live here either full-time or at least part-time," he added.
  • "Now we do have part-time residents who are here all winter," he said at a separate press conference, per CNN.
  • "They go to doctors here or whatever, that's fine. What we don't want is tourists, foreigners. We want to put seniors first, but we obviously want to put people that live here first in line."
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