Florida residents 50 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday

Gov. Ron DeSantis makes announcement during news conference in Tallahassee
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, March 19, 2021
Posted at 8:46 AM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 09:51:38-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis said the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to everyone 50 years old and older beginning Monday.

DeSantis made the announcement during a news conference Friday morning in Tallahassee with outgoing Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz.

The governor said he anticipates the state will be able to meet the demand now that there are more distribution points.

"But the bottom line is it's been very orderly," DeSantis said. "People are able to get appointments online much easier now than when the first crush started at the end of December, so we feel confident going to a 50-plus (model) makes a lot of sense right now, and I think that the demand will, obviously, increase in terms of people that are looking to get vaccine, but I don't think it's going to be anything that's going to overwhelm."

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Moskowitz announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down in April.

The South Florida native has led the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Jared Moskowitz at Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, March 19, 2021
Gov. Ron DeSantis listens as Jared Moskowitz, director of Florida's Division of Emergency Management, speaks during a news conference, March 19, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.

"Florida has vaccinated more seniors than any other state," Moskowitz said.

DeSantis said he expects Florida to open vaccine eligibility to all adults before May 1.

President Joe Biden directed states to make the vaccine available to all adults by May 1 in an effort to return the U.S. to a state of normalcy by July 4.

"We really did not want to be vaccines going through government and the state government being the one supplying these vaccine," DeSantis said, explaining the state's rollout plan. "We wanted to facilitate this but have a lot of different points where people could go, and I think that that's what we've been able to do, and I think it's been very effective."