Mar 2, 2021 - News

Florida gets more good vaccine news after a year of COVID

Illustration of syringes forming a health plus/cross

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

We’ve officially passed the one-year mark since the coronavirus pandemic reached Florida.

The state of play: This time around there's good news. The anniversary brought exciting vaccine announcements for the state.

1. Johnson & Johnson vaccine: Gov. Ron DeSantis expects a shipment of the one-dose shot this week after it was approved over the weekend, he announced at a press conference Monday.

  • The state is looking at getting 175,000 doses this week, DeSantis said.
  • The governor also brushed aside concerns that the J&J shot is slightly less effective than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines: "If you have the opportunity to take the J&J, take the J&J."

2. Expanded eligibility: All sworn-in law enforcement officers, firefighters and K-12 school personnel over 50 can now get a shot under a new executive order.

  • They could all likely be vaccinated with the J&J shipment, DeSantis said.
  • It comes after Friday’s executive order allowing physicians, advanced practice registered nurses and pharmacists to vaccinate people under 65 deemed "extremely vulnerable" by their doctors.

3. Federal vaccine sites: Four are set to open in different parts of the state this week if the J&J vaccine arrives, per DeSantis. Tampa's will be located at the Tampa Greyhound Track.

  • Don't forget: Raymond James Stadium's vaccine site opened Monday. It plans to accommodate up to 3,200 people a day.

Lingering questions:

  • How will the "extremely vulnerable" categorization work, the Tampa Bay Times asks? Will pharmacies require people to have doctor's notes to get their shots? Will the same apply to federal sites?
  • When will the new group announced yesterday be eligible for shots?
  • Representatives from DeSantis' office, the state department of emergency management and the health department did not immediately respond for comment.

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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