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Too fast or too slow? Senior advocates react to Florida vaccine eligibility expansion

Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 10:38 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - For the first time since the vaccine rollout began in Florida, Gov. Ron Desantis is lowering the blanket age requirement by five years. Starting next week, people aged 60 to 64 will now be eligible.

But is the governor moving too fast, or not fast enough? Some senior advocates say it’s a complex answer.

Gov. DeSantis defended the move Monday by describing current demand for vaccine as “softening.”

“I do think this is the right time to do it,” he said. “We’re starting to see the demand soften.”

The announcement was welcome news to Elder Care Services in Tallahassee.

“This is wonderful news for us,” said CEO and President Jocelyne Filger.

“Everybody has been anxious and wants to get their vaccination.” she said.

Their clients start at age sixty, meaning a whole group of them have been on the sidelines so far.

“The folks I’ve spoken to today said they’re happy they can go get their vaccine,” she said.

Jeff Johnson is the state director for AARP Florida. He’s heard a similar push.

“There are a number of them who have reached out to us to say, when is it our turn?,” he said.

Johnson indicated he’s on board with the planned expansion next week, but he does have one cause for reservation.

“So we have a little concern that every time you open up to a new group, you have a chance some of those people who have been trying since January to get it get pushed a little farther down the list,” he said.

Johnson said he has seen the bigger problems in Central and South Florida, and just wants to make sure those struggling aren’t forgotten.

“Make sure you take care of them, before you bring in a lot of new folks into the system,” he said.

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