By Pat Raia
This week, Floridians age 40 years and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, and eligibility will expand again the first week in April when anyone age 18 years and older will become eligible to be vaccinated. That expansion will take place a month before the federal government's universal vaccination goal.
The new eligibility guidelines reflect the success of the state's “Seniors first” vaccine strategy, Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a March 26 announcement.
“More than 3.2 million seniors age 65 and older have received shots, (and) 70 percent of the 4.4 million seniors residing in Florida have received vaccinations,” DeSantis said in a March 26 announcement. “Because of that success, (we’ve) been able to expand eligibility to those age 50 and above, and we've seen additional success,”
According to DeSantis, the decision to make the vaccine to all adults beats the Biden administration universal vaccination goal by four weeks.
“The Biden administration has set a May 1 target date for vaccine eligibility for all adults,” DeSantis said. “Florida is pleased to announce that all adults in the state age 18 and older will be eligible for the vaccine beginning Monday, April 5.”
The Florida Department of Health said that under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for persons age 16 and up. The Moderna and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccines are authorized for persons age 18 and up.
In Hernando County, vaccinations are available at the County's permanent vaccination site at the Hernando County Fairgrounds, as well as at pharmacies at Publix, Walmart and Winn-Dixie stores, CVS pharmacies and Pine Brook Pharmacy. Anyone wanting to be vaccinated must provide documentation of age such as a driver’s license, government-issued ID, birth certificate or passport, or employment status for a qualifying priority group.
Those age 65 years and older should continue to use the CDR Maguire Online Registration Portal at www.patientportalfl.com or via phone at 844-770-8548.
Appointments are required for all vaccine clinics.
Walk-ups will not be accommodated.