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Florida Governor Signs Order Expanding COVID Vaccinations To First Responders And Teachers

Closeup of a doctor wearing blue gloves injecting a syringe into a woman's arm.
Mlle Sonyah
The latest executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis marks the second vaccination expansion in several days.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has expanded COVID-19 vaccinations to law-enforcement officers, firefighters, and K-12 teachers aged 50 or older.

DeSantis issued an executive order Monday afternoon marking an additional expansion of vaccinations that have focused since late December on people age 65 or older.

On Friday, DeSantis issued an order that allows physicians to vaccinate people under 65 who are deemed “extremely vulnerable” to the virus. The order also allows advanced practice registered nurses and pharmacists to provide shots to such people if physicians determine the recipients are extremely vulnerable. Previously, only hospitals were authorized to give shots to people under age 65 deemed extremely vulnerable.

DeSantis indicated last week that he was likely to expand vaccinations to law-enforcement officers, firefighters, and teachers over 50. His latest executive order says during the “first phase of vaccine administration, all providers administering any COVID-19 vaccine shall only vaccinate the following populations:”

  • Long-term care facility residents and staff;
  • Persons 65 years of age and older;
  • Health care personnel with direct patient contact;
  • K-12 school employees 50 years of age and older;
  • Sworn law enforcement officers 50 years of age and older; and
  • Firefighters 50 years of age and older.

DeSantis said the expansion is bolstered, at least in part, by federal approval of a Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. He said Florida could get 175,000 doses of the J&J vaccine this week, which requires only single doses — unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that require two doses.

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. Follow Gina: @hearyourthought on Twitter. Click below for Gina's full bio.