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DeSantis says first J&J shipments will be used for eligible law enforcement, and more

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a vaccination event for older law enforcement officials in Winter Haven. Image: PCSO via Facebook
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a vaccination event for older law enforcement officials in Winter Haven. Image: PCSO via Facebook

Gov. Ron DeSantis is planning vaccine distribution events around the state to provide the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to older law enforcement officials.

"We really believe because J&J is a single dose," he said. "We’re looking at law enforcement, fire and teachers 50 and up. That’s perfect for people that are in the workforce."

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At an event in Winter Haven, 2,000 officers from Polk, Hardee, Highlands and Lake counties were getting shots.

DeSantis says the first shipments of the J&J vaccine will cover all 20,000 eligible sworn officers, plus the firefighters and school employees who qualify.

But in general, he says age -- not occupation -- will determine who is eligible. The next group will likely be residents 60 and older sometime this month. 

"If you’re 60, you’re going to be able to go, and it doesn’t matter what your vocation is," he said. "Or it doesn’t matter if you’re retired. You’re going to be able to go. Then when we do 55, that’ll be for everybody who is 55 and up."

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On the other hand, any child-care worker or K-through-12 employee can receive a vaccine from pharmacies in the federal program and the FEMA sites.

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.