TAMPA, Fla — As more vaccination sites are being set up all over the Tampa Bay area, it can be confusing to keep track of who is eligible to receive a vaccine.
Rollout strategies differ from state to state; but in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis started with select groups and then expanded eligibility by age as the demand decreased.
Here's who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine right now:
All eligible Floridians (18 and up for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson; 12 and up for Pfizer)
On April 5, Florida opened vaccinations to all those eligible to receive the COVID-19 shot as prescribed by the FDA. This comes nearly one month ahead of the Biden administration's goal to help get shots in arms.
The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people 12 and up, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine is authorized for people ages 18 and up. People aged 12-17 must be accompanied by a guardian and complete the COVID-19 vaccine screening and consent form.
People age 40 and over
On March 29, Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded vaccine eligibility to people age 40 and older.
In a video, the governor said Florida was ready to take this next step as the state has had "great progress on those age 60 to 64 and those age 50 and older."
People age 50 and over
Since the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Florida, the state has prioritized people within the 65 and up age group. Gov. Ron DeSantis even dubbed the effort "Seniors First," hoping that every senior who wants a vaccine gets access to it.
On Monday, March 22, the state expanded the age eligibility to people who are 50 and older.
Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
This includes nursing homes and assisted living centers.
Healthcare workers with direct patient contact
Doctors, nurses, medical assistants, and first responders like firefighters and paramedics are included in this group. Many hospitals in the area have received doses to vaccinate staff members directly.
People deemed extremely vulnerable to COVID-19
This one is a little trickier, as it has a broader definition and can be difficult to prove. DeSantis has said he doesn't want nurses and pharmacists to have to "referee" someone's co-morbidity but instead wants doctors to make the call for their patients. Your best bet to is talk to your doctor if you think you have a condition that puts you at higher risk for the virus.
DeSantis signed an executive order that would allow doctors, pharmacies and advanced practice registered nurses to vaccinate people who are under 65 and have conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
You will need to provide this form, signed by your physician.
Teachers, first responders
An executive order allows providers to vaccinate K-12 school employees, law enforcement officers and firefighters aged 50 and older.
Many retailers, such as CVS, Publix and Walmart, are offering vaccines to any teacher regardless of age, however.
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