DeSantis says elderly residents and health care workers will be first to get COVID-19 vaccine

As COVID-19 vaccine stockpiles await the FDA’s greenlight in early December, Governor Ron DeSantis is making it clear who will get the first round of available vaccines in the state. 

“In Florida, we are going to set priorities focusing on specifically those most vulnerable, elderly residents in long-term care facilities, as well as our frontline healthcare workers who are interacting with vulnerable patients, day in and day out,“ he said during a video released Wednesday.  

The vaccine will be deployed to Florida’s 4,000 long-term care facilities. More than 3,000 long-term care facilities have already signed up.    

The state has set aside an additional 500,000 rapid tests for nursing homes.  

Sen. Scott presses for COVID-19 vaccine plan details

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter Wednesday to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar pressing him for more-detailed information about distribution of yet-to-be-approved COVID-19 vaccines and about a $6 billion funding request.

Regeneron, a new antibody therapy meant for those most vulnerable to COVID, has received its emergency use authorization and is now on its way to hospitals throughout the state.   

“If we can redouble our efforts to protect the most vulnerable until the vaccine is deployed, we will help safeguard the lives of thousands of Floridians,” DeSantis said.  

DeSantis extends order blocking business shutdowns

The two-page extension, issued Tuesday, said the state “continues to suffer economic harm as a result of COVID-19 related closures, exacerbating the impacts of the State of Emergency, and Floridians should not be prohibited by local governments from working or operating a business.”

As cases spike throughout the Tampa Bay Area, DeSantis again declined to hold a public appearance with reporters. Instead, he issued a video statement while also extending an executive order aimed at preventing business shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Local governments cannot mandate any shutdowns and the order also says cities and counties cannot issue fines for those who don’t follow mask mandates.