Higher-risk population left in limbo when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine

Their lives have been turned upside down because of the coronavirus. Maurice and Andra Longo say their 21-year-old son, Reesey, has Down Syndrome, which makes COVID-19 much more dangerous for him.

"We had to have Reesey stay at home," Andra said.

"It’s well documented that they have a compromised immune system," Maurice said.

Heather Barnes, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida says her clients have been desperately trying to access the vaccine.

"Studies show that individuals with Down Syndrome are 10 times more likely to die if they contract COVID-19," Barnes said.

In an executive order, Governor Ron DeSantis wrote that hospital providers may vaccinate those deemed to be "extremely vulnerable," but who exactly that is remains unclear.

"What has actually happened in practice is that the hospitals have not really issued any public guidance on who would be eligible to receive the vaccine under 65," said Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, (D) Orlando.

In a letter to hospital administrators, Smith is asking hospitals to set criteria for the public. He also wants hospitals to focus on vaccinating the medically vulnerable instead of seniors who can access the vaccine at local health departments or pharmacies.

"They can make an impact and save lives, even if it’s for a small group of individuals who desperately need it," Smith said.

But some hospitals say they're already out of the vaccine. AdventHealth and Orlando Health tell FOX 35 they don’t have any first doses left and it's unclear when they're getting more.

The Longos are left waiting on word for their chance.

"We’re hopeful," Maurice said.