Some teachers and law enforcement officials may be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine fairly soon, said Governor Ron DeSantis during a news conference in Hialeah Tuesday.
He said as long as the federally supported COVID-19 vaccination sites continue to get doses, he expects the requirements to get the vaccine to open up to people in specific professions that are 50 years old and up. This includes teachers, police officers and any firefighters who have not yet received the vaccine.
"But the federally supported sites, if, as long as it works out to where the doses will be allowed for this, we want that to be open not just to seniors but for sworn law enforcement and classroom teachers," said DeSantis. "So we'll start probably 50 and up for the police and the classroom teachers and the fire who hasn't gotten it [...] and I think we're going to have the ability to do that between these federally supported sites, and some of the new vaccine that may be coming online, very very soon."
DeSantis said the state is getting close to almost 2.5 million seniors that have been vaccinated and says he's hopeful that COVID-19 numbers will continue to decrease.
He also gave information regarding how seniors in the Miami area can access vaccines through Navarro Discount Pharmacy.
" I can tell you that retail pharmacies have been a key component of getting shots in the arms of seniors," said DeSantis. "If you look throughout the state of Florida, we've been focusing obviously on seniors first, we are number one in the nation or close to number one in almost every key metric involving seniors."
Some First Coast educators want to see the governor expand the availability.
"I am above 50 and I will get the vaccine when I can," Chris Guerrieri, a longtime teacher, said. "But, I am reasonably in good shape. What happens if someone who is 27 and has heart issues or has diabetes? I don't want to skip ahead of them."
Former Union County Superintendent Carlton Faulk agrees and wants to see a wider net cast for those who are younger than 50, but may have pre-existing conditions.
He was an advocate for in-person learning. Union County was one of the first counties to return entirely to campus last August.
"Our teachers, I know some of them were worried about COVID. I'm sure all them were and we were worried about them," Faulk said.