LAKE MARY, Fla. - An executive order signed by Governor Ron DeSantis has opened up the coronavirus vaccine to people under the age of 65 who are "extremely vulnerable" -- in other words, those who have an increased risk of severe illness or death as a result of contracting COVID-19.
The Florida Department of Health has published a form for physicians to certify that they have determined an individual to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 and eligible to receive the vaccine.
You can download the form which is published below, or you can visit the DOH website here (PDF).
The form does not specify what qualifies as "extremely vulnerable" and appears to give physicians some discretion.
The order by DeSantis reads, "In addition to hospital providers, physicians licensed under Chapters 458 and 459, Florida Statutes, may also vaccinate persons whom they deem to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, and advanced practice registered nurses licensed under Chapter 464, Florida Statutes, and pharmacists licensed under Chapter 465, Florida Statutes, may vaccinate persons determined by a physician to be extremely vulnerable to COVID- 19."
This means that only vaccination sites that have a licensed physician, advanced practice registered nurse or pharmacist can administer the vaccine to this specific group. Many county health officials we spoke to on Tuesday were still waiting on guidance from the state on how to proceed with these vaccines.
The best option is for people to try to book an appointment at Publix Pharmacy, a doctor's office that offers the shot, or a hospital.
Publix started offering vaccines to this new group on Monday and provided additional information following the release of the required form by the state late Tuesday.
"Beginning for appointments booked Wednesday for vaccines administered on and after Friday, Publix will require the form prior to vaccination," said spokesperson Maria Brous.
Walmart and CVS are expected to open appointments to those under 65 at high risk soon.
Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) site at Valencia College’s West Campus begins vaccinating the public on Wednesday. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. Registration will be done at the site.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest coronavirus news.