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DeSantis Wants Elderly Vaccinated Next, Despite Federal Recommendations

Photo: The Florida Channel, Joe Byrnes

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he will break with a federal advisory panel if necessary to ensure Florida’s elderly are next in line for a coronavirus vaccine. 

He was in the sprawling Central Florida retirement community The Villages on Tuesday to announce the elderly will come before essential workers. 

The governor’s comments came as two Villages residents became the first community members in the state to be inoculated, after healthcare workers and nursing home residents. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel recommends people 75 and older and essential workers come next, but DeSantis says the recommendations are not binding. 

“As we get into the general community, the vaccines are going to be targeted where the risk is the greatest, and that is in our elderly population. We are not going to put young healthy workers ahead of our elderly vulnerable population.” 

Florida is home to one of the oldest populations in the country. DeSantis says some 82 percent of coronavirus deaths are in the elderly. 

“So if you can get a huge amount of those people vaccinated, you are going to reduce that mortality. You’re going to reduce the number of people coming into the hospitals,” he says. 

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »