Floridians 65 and older will receive the coronavirus vaccine first, orders DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE – Floridians 65 and older will be the first in the general population to be vaccinated for COVID-19, with the first doses administered as early as Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.

DeSantis signed an executive order ensuring that Florida’s elderly are the first in the general population to receive vaccines. Health professionals and people in long-term care facilities, who are most vulnerable to the virus, are already being treated, and DeSantis said the state has administered 70,000 vaccines.

Florida coronavirus cases by age group

Doctors say the elderly are at an increased risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19, which makes Florida especially vulnerable.

With more vaccines coming, DeSantis said the state is ready to expand vaccines to people over 65.

Related: Do you have questions about the coronavirus vaccine? We have answers, Florida.

The treatments will be administered by hospitals and county health departments as early as Monday, but DeSantis did not say how people can apply to be vaccinated. He said those details will be available closer to Monday.

“Be patient with us,” he said.

These health departments will not include Tampa Bay on Monday, however. A Hillsborough County Health Department spokesman said vaccines for the area will be available “in the coming weeks” but will not be available on Monday.

On Tuesday, DeSantis said he wanted to vaccinate Florida’s more than 3 million residents over 70 in the next six weeks, giving them priority over essential workers and younger people with underlying health problems.

“Vaccines will be targeted where the risk is greatest, and that in our elderly population,” said DeSantis on Tuesday. “We are not going to put young, healthy workers ahead of our elderly and vulnerable population.”