LONGWOOD, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis held news conferences Monday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital in Longwood.
At Jackson Memorial Hospital, DeSantis outlined ways to streamline the vaccine distribution process, including asking hospitals statewide to submit plans on how they will get the vaccine out to seniors and estimate how many they can do in a day.
“We don’t want vaccine being idle, we want folks to be able to use it and get it into people’s arms, particularly our most vulnerable population,” he said. “What we’re going to do is if you have hospitals like Jackson that are meeting or exceeding their targets, we’ll send you more vaccine.”
It was at Orlando Health when he announced the state’s plan to speed up the vaccination process for Florida’s residents.
DeSantis said he has ordered the Florida Division of Emergency Management to work with the Florida Department of Health to look into how many state-run COVID-19 testing sites could be turned into vaccination sites.
“So these are sites that are generally pretty large, have a lot of parking capacity, have drive-through capacity,” DeSantis said.
He also said the state will be looking at places of worship in underserved communities where they can administer vaccines. DeSantis said the state has already done this in Pensacola.
According to the governor, all state-run vaccination locations will be open seven days a week and he is encouraging hospitals to do the same.
DeSantis said the state will deploy 1,000 nurses to assist the National Guard at vaccination locations across Florida and warned that hospitals will lose their vaccine supply to other health systems if they are not efficient with administering the vaccine as quickly as possible.
More resources will also be used to vaccinate those at long-term care facilities, the governor announced.
“We’re going where the risk is greatest,” he said. “We’re going where we’ll have the greatest impact in saving lives.”
The Florida Education Association has created a Take Action page, as a call for action for teachers to send a message to DeSantis so they can be among those who qualify to be inoculated at this time.
The governor, however, said Monday that teachers will not be permitted to be vaccinated at this time unless they are 65 or older.