Florida to lower vaccine eligibility age to 40 starting Monday, 18+ next month

Florida will open eligibility requirements to anyone 18 and older on April 5, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday.

Starting March 29, the eligibility requirement for getting the vaccine will drop from 50 to 40, the governor said in a news release. The age requirement dropped from 60 to 50 on Monday.

Floridians are encouraged to pre-register at MyVaccine.FL.gov.

Those who do will be notified when the vaccine is available in their area. There is also a vaccine pre-registration phone number in each county for anyone who does not have online access.

In an announcement on YouTube, DeSantis said: 

"We’ve been able to expand eligibility to those age 50 and above and we’ve seen additional success. Now because of this success, I am pleased to announce additional vaccine eligibility expansions. While the Biden administration set a May 1st target date for vaccine eligibility for all adults, Florida is pleased to announce that all adults in the state age 18 and older will be eligible for the vaccine beginning Monday, April 5th. And this coming Monday, March 29th, the age of eligibility for the vaccine will be reduced from 50 to 40. We have now vaccinated over 70% of the roughly 4.4 million seniors living in the state." 

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President Biden previously announced all Americans who want a vaccine shot should be able to make an appointment by May 1st. During a press conference on Friday, DeSantis said he expected that Florida would open up the eligibility to all ages by that date.

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The COVID-19 vaccine is currently available at federal and state-run sites.

In addition, the vaccines are also available at 150 CVS locations, 125 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations, more than 70 Winn Dixie locations, and every single one of the 730 Publix pharmacies across Florida. Soon, the vaccine will also be available at more than 600 Walgreens pharmacies statewide.

The Biden administration announced Thursday it was giving $368 million in federal funds starting next month to 47 community health centers across the state to help with vaccination efforts.

Community health centers, which meet a set of federal criteria to qualify, serve vulnerable populations, including the uninsured, the under-insured, those living below poverty levels and those in rural areas who struggle to access care.

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Through Tuesday, slightly more than 5.2 million people had been at least partially vaccinated.

Vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna require two doses, while a Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.

More than 2.85 million people in Florida had completed two-dose series or had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as of Tuesday, according to the state Department of Health. About 2.35 million had received first doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Watch FOX 35 News for the latest on the COVID-19 vaccine.  

The Associated Press and the News Service of Florida contributed to this report.