ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Friday morning lowering the age of those eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines to Florida residents 50 and older.
"We feel confident going to a 50+ makes a lot of sense right now. We think demand will increase, but we don’t think it will be anything overwhelming," Governor DeSantis said. "We think we’ve done pretty good this week with 60-64. Quite frankly, we think that even with current vaccine allotments that opening it up will be good."
Less than a day earlier in Orange County, Mayor Jerry Demings said starting Monday, anyone over 40 can get a jab, but only at the Orange County Convention Center vaccine site. He said with bookings down, he’d rather see shots in arms than sitting in freezers if people want them.
That move upset Governor DeSantis.
"It’s not his decision to make," Governor DeSantis told reporters Friday morning. "I would note that Orange County is below the state average in seniors vaccinated. There is 63 percent. Trying to do healthy 40-year-olds over seniors is not a direction I would go."
Seminole County Emergency Management Director Alan Harris said he’s seeing vaccine disparity from county to county. He says the governor’s announcement comes right on time for Seminole County.
"We have seen the tickets aren’t going as fast, although they do sell out. But they aren’t going as quickly as they were before. What that means is we need to expand a little bit more, which is exactly what happened this morning," Harris said.
Brevard County’s Emergency Management Director Don Walker says that’s not the case for the Space Coast.
"We’re still in a supply-demand situation where with 140,000 plus seniors in Brevard County who are 65 and older, we still have a lot of vaccines to go before we at least get through that first phase of the vaccination program," Walker said.
A spokesperson for Volusia County told FOX 35 News that supply just started matching demand at its sites this week.
In Osceola County, its Florida Department of Health spokesperson told FOX 35 News that the vaccine sites they run are still hitting capacity most days.