Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this morning that all Floridians 18+ will be eligible for a COVID vaccine starting April 5. Starting Monday, everyone 40+ can get a shot.
The state of play: The move to widen eligibility comes as vaccine supply increases across the country and after manageable demand from those over 50.
- Statewide, 5.2 million people — or just under 25% — have gotten at least one dose. Of those, 2.8 million are fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.
- Nearly three-quarters of our seniors have been vaccinated.
Supply infrastructure: The state has more than 100 county-run vaccination sites and more than 1,600 retail pharmacies — like Publix, CVS and Walmart — offering shots, DeSantis said. Walgreens will soon add 400 more locations.
Why 18 and not 16? That wasn't immediately clear, but under the FDA's emergency use authorization, the Pfizer vaccine can be given to people 16 and older. (The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only authorized for people over 18.)
Our thought bubble: With cases and hospitalizations plummeting among Florida's most vulnerable, this announcement — almost a month ahead of the Biden administration's target date — is a serious step toward a full return to normal.
- And we mean normal normal, not the version that has seen our state at the center of a media firestorm over the past few months.
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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