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First responders, educators 50 years old and up can be vaccinated starting March 3

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued the executive order on Monday.
Credit: Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP
FILE: A technician prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine at the newly-opened drive up site at the Wal-Mart store in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The site is part of the company's initiative to vaccinate underserved communities considered vulnerable to COVID.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis is making good on his word to have first responders and educators next in line for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

On Monday, DeSantis signed an executive order that expands vaccine eligibility to all sworn law enforcement officers, firefighters and K-12 school personnel who are 50 and older.

The order's expansion takes effect on March 3.

According to the governor, the decision was made after the vaccine supply in Florida seemed to be improving.

DeSantis anticipates the state will get its shipment of approximately 175,000 Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccines this week. Those shots would be in addition to a higher allocation of Pfizer vaccines and new federal vaccination sites opening-up.

The governor believes many who fall into this age category will have already been inoculated and finds that, should the Johnson & Johnson shipment arrive this week, those doses alone could cover this new eligible category of Floridians.

Being added to the vaccination pool is something that brings peace of mind.

"Especially for some of us that were eLearning originally and came back to the building. There's definitely a heightened sense of worry," Hillsborough County Spanish Teacher Carolina Plested told 10 Tampa Bay in February.

She's one of many waiting for a COVID-19 shot. After fighting her own battle with the virus months ago, she's now recovered and back in the classroom.

"I assumed that teachers would be next in the line. We're also considered frontline heroes as well, because of the community service work we do every day in the classroom," Plested said, at the time.

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