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Larger crowds expected at vaccination sites as DeSantis lowers age requirement

More people will have a shot at prevention as eligibility opens up for the COVID-19 vaccine
More people will have a shot at prevention as eligibility opens up for the COVID-19 vaccine

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine is expanding this week.

On Sunday, officials outlined what the public needs to know before scheduling an appointment.

Appointments for the revised age criteria to get a vaccine is already helping to drive demand.

Any Florida resident age 60 and up can now get a shot, as Gov. Ron DeSantis rolled back the age requirement at sites doling out the doses.

“We expect that with the new criteria, starting Monday, we’re going to see a busy few days as people come out and get the vaccine, so there’s an ebb and a flow and we see the peaks,” said Mike Jachles with FEMA. “If you have a medical condition, you need to have the Department of Health form signed by your physician.”

It’s clear, officials will be enforcing the guidelines at the FEMA supported sites, where last week some people managed to get a shot under laxed enforcement.

That created long lines with folks hoping for the same fate, but who were ultimately turned away.

This week officials urge people to bring snacks, water and even a chair at large walk-up sites like Miami Dade College’s North Campus, and to be mindful of problematic parking.

“We are strongly discouraging people from driving and leaving their cars at businesses or in front of homes in the neighborhoods,” Jachles said. “It causes congestion, it causes an issue.”

The demand though prompted Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to write a letter to DeSantis last week, urging him to lower the minimum age requirement by 10 years every two weeks.

The governor believes a “vaccine for all approach” may happen sooner than later.

“Surely sometime in April, before May I think the vaccine will be available to adults who want it,” DeSantis said.

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.