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DeSantis predicts fewer than 50% of residents under 50 will get coronavirus vaccine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has focused on putting seniors first during his vaccine rollout. Image: Florida Channel video
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has focused on putting seniors first during his vaccine rollout. Image: Florida Channel video

Gov. Ron DeSantis predicts that fewer than half of Florida residents under 50 will get vaccinated against COVID-19 when they become eligible.

But  inoculating younger residents will be essential to truly crushing the coronavirus.

The governor says he expects a much lower turnout among 25-year-olds than 75-year-olds, who are more likely to get seriously ill. 

"I mean, honestly, that's sensible because the risk is much different in those," he said during a press conference in Crystal River.

Dr. Michael Lauzardo, deputy director of the University of Florida's Emerging Pathogens Institute, says focusing on seniors makes a lot of sense early on while vaccines are limited.

But that addresses the consequences, not the source of the pandemic.

"Almost 75 percent of transmission, in other words, the spread of COVID, is from people in their 20s, 30s and 40s," he said. "So until we start vaccinating people under the age of 50, we're not really having a big impact on the transmission or spread."

Just protecting the most vulnerable, he says, is, quote, "a false choice" that will leave the pandemic unchecked.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.