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COVID-19 vaccinations will be open to all adults ages 18 and older beginning April 5. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis released a nearly three-minute video on March 25 announcing vaccine eligibility expansion to those 40 and older beginning March 29. A week later, the eligibility opens up to adults 18 and older. 

“We’ve made progress and I look forward to continuing to work hard to make sure everyone in Florida who wants a shot can get a shot. No mandate, but access for all,” he said. 

Within his remarks, DeSantis said Florida’s “Seniors First” vaccine strategy resulted in 3.2 million people aged 65 and older obtaining their shots. DeSantis said that equates to about 70% of that age population. 

“If you look at the hospital and case rates, they have plummeted since the ‘Seniors First’ strategy,” he said. “We want to keep that momentum as we expand eligibility to other age groups throughout the state of Florida,” he said. 

Vaccine opportunities continue to grow with more pharmacies providing the two-shot series in Moderna and Pfizer, as well as the one-shot Johnson & Johnson. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Moderna vaccine for individuals 18 and older. Authorized emergency use for the Pfizer vaccine is for individuals 16 and older. 

As for the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the FDA authorized its use for those 18 and older. 

More than 22,000 Monroe County residents received at least one dose of the vaccine, while just over 11,600 completed their series. 

Monroe County Emergency Management, Walgreens, Islamorada and the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County partnered for three vaccination events on March 25. About 800 residents who signed up on myvaccine.fl.gov were vaccinated at the three sites — Bernstein Park on Stock Island, Big Pine Park and Founders Park in Islamorada.   

DeSantis said the reception is positive among those who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson. 

“It was little concerning because of the way it was characterized as not as good as Moderna and Pfizer, even though the clinical data showed 100 percent effectiveness to prevent death and serious illness. It turns out any time we’ve done these J&J drives, people love it,” he said. 

In Marathon, appointments opened up for shots at Marathon City Hall for the week of March 29. A total of 400 vaccines will be administered by Baptist Health South Florida. 

Adding to the pharmacies in the Keys providing COVID-19 shots is the CVS Pharmacy on Stock Island and the Walgreens Pharmacy at MM 99.5 in Key Largo. More information is at cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine. 

Winn-Dixie pharmacies in Tavernier and Key West are providing the vaccine, as well as Publix pharmacies in Islamorada and Key Plaza Shopping Center. 

The Florida Health Department also continues vaccination clinics for those who signed up online via myvaccine.fl.gov.

The post VACCINE ELIGIBILITY OPENS UP TO 18-PLUS on APRIL 5 appeared first on Florida Keys Weekly Newspapers.

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