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Vaccine eligibility in Florida expands to those 60 and older

Governor Ron DeSantis said he plans to lower the age to 55 by the end of the month and wants to have vaccines for all adults before May 1.

Governor Ron DeSantis’ plan to have COVID-19 vaccines available to all adult Floridians before President Biden’s goal of May 1 starts Monday with dropping the vaccine eligibility age to 60 before planning to drop it again to 55 by the end of the month.

RELATED: People 60 and older can get a vaccine in Florida starting Monday

"I think it'll be certainly before May 1 we'll be able to open up to all adults,” DeSantis said on Friday.

While DeSantis said in early March he is committed to the incremental age-based approach, scientists aren't convinced it's the best strategy.

"If you really want to, you know, end the pandemic as fast as possible, then the vaccination should go to the 20 to 49-year-olds, because they are the people who are responsible for most of the transmission in the community, not the older populations,” said Dr. Edwin Michael of the University of South Florida.

Dr. Michael Teng, virologist at the University of South Florida agreed, and said he would also like to see vaccines be prioritized for other groups, like essential workers. 

"I would prefer to see that the essential employees really get their chance at that because those are the ones who have...been at work, the entire pandemic. They should be the ones to get the next set of vaccines,” he said.

Either way, local scientists say it is possible that vaccine production will make the May 1 goal attainable.

"Pfizer and Moderna have definitely ramped up, and they’re definitely producing more vaccine. I think this partnership between Johnson and Johnson and Merck, is going to be great for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” said Dr. Teng. “If they can…get the production facilities up and running, make sure the quality control is there…it should be fairly easy for that partnership to make a lot of the Johnson and Johnson.

This month, the U.S. has doubled its Johnson and Johnson vaccine order from 100 million to 200 million.

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