Demings: Backlash from DeSantis not expected after lowering vaccine eligibility to 40

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says that he is not expecting any more backlash from Governor Ron DeSantis for his decision to lower vaccine eligibility to 40.

Mayor Demings announced last week that the Orange County Convention Center would start vaccinating those 40 and up, stating that the demand from seniors is down and they want to expand eligibility to get shots in arms, rather than have them expire.

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"Each day, we have an available supply that is not getting in the arms of Individuals and they don't want it to just sit in storage," he explained. "Up to 3,000 a day can get their shot at the convention center. We are experiencing depressed demand for being vaccinated given the current eligibility criteria for 60-plus-year-old individuals."

Governor DeSantis previously clapped back at this decision, stating that "it’s not his decision to make" and that "Orange County is below the state average in seniors vaccinated. There at 63 percent. Trying to do healthy 40-year-olds over seniors is not a direction I would go." 

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However, Mayor Demings' new age eligibility group began on Monday nonetheless. Within 13 minutes of the portal opening to those 40 and up, 7,000 appointments were booked and the portal was forced to close. The Orange County Convention Center vaccine site has not reached capacity like this in weeks.

"It's a measured approach that we have used, I would not expect that there would be any type of retribution, backlash as you would put it, because we're making decisions for the people in our county," Mayor Demings said.

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