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Florida pushing for nearly 29,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses for vulnerable under 65

Florida's weekly allotment of the Coronavirus vaccine increased to around 307,000 this week from a previous allotment of 266,000.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida's weekly allotment of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has increased by tens of thousands this week.

Speaking at a press conference in The Villages  Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis said the federal government raised Florida's allotment from around 266,000 to 307,000, an increase of 41,000 doses.

"Our ability to vaccinate seniors can increase dramatically just based on additional supply," DeSantis said.

Over the past weeks, DeSantis has called on the federal government to provide more vaccine doses, saying the state has the infrastructural capacity to put more shots in arms than what's been allotted. 

On Monday, DeSantis also said he hopes the "Federal Pharmacy Program" could be used to bring other retail pharmacies like Walmart and Winn Dixie into the vaccine distribution mix.

Meanwhile, state health officials confirm to On Your Side that 28,500 doses of vaccine are being sent to 27 hospital systems across the state, with the intention that people under 65 with underlying medical conditions that make them more susceptible to the virus can be vaccinated.

"Those vulnerable could be people who have had an organ transplant, who've had cancer and had a bone marrow transplant," said Dr. Mohammed Reza, a Jacksonville infectious disease specialist. "Those people are really vulnerable to having a really poor outcome from this virus." 

Locally, the following hospitals will receive these doses:

  • Baptist Health Downtown
  • Baptist Health South
  • Mayo Clinic

Reza said distributing to the hospital systems directly provides more accuracy in distributing to this specific group.

"The hospitals know their vulnerable population, they know those under 65, those with multiple underlying medical conditions that make them very vulnerable in having a poor outcome," Reza said.

As of Monday morning, the state reports 1.7 million Floridians have received the COVID-19 vaccine.