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Strong demand from younger people as vaccine eligibility age drops to 16

The Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for people 16 and up, as opposed to 18 and up.

TAMPA, Fla. — Monday was real milestone for COVID-19 vaccines here in the state of Florida.

The age of eligibility dropped to 16 and older, meaning 6.5 million more people can now get the shot.

At the FEMA site at the Tampa Greyhound Track, where appointments are not necessary, the line of cars was more than hundred deep a full hour before this site opened at 7 a.m.

Demand was strong for people who have been waiting months for their chance to finally get the COVID vaccine, and now that day has arrived.

The eligibility age is now 16. But that’s for the Pfizer vaccine, which so far is the only one approved for those who are 16 and up, as opposed to 18.

Monday’s crown was clearly younger, made up of lots of students, young workers and teenagers concerned – not only about their own health  – but the health of their family members too.

“Well, they are older. And I know my grandma, she’s not the healthiest. So, it’s nice,” said 17-year-old Evan Rhine. “They recently got their shots too.”

Vanessa O’Farrill, 18, agreed.

“I help my grandma a lot and I stay with her quite often,” said O’Farrill. “So, that’s another reason. She got hers, so now I got mine.”

“A lot of them are anxious to get back to some normalcy. A lot of them are trying to get back to school, trying to interact with family members. And just trying to move on with life,” said Ignatius Carroll, a spokesman for the Tampa FEMA site.

On Tuesday, the FEMA site will transition from Pfizer vaccines to the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The same lower age eligibility applies to other vaccination sites as well, including, state, county, pharmacies and drug stores.

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