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Orange County Booked 7,000 Appointments In 15 Minutes After Dropping Eligibility To 40

Orange County booked up all of its appointments in 13 minutes after dropping the eligibility age to 40. (Photo via Twitter)
Orange County booked up all of its appointments in 13 minutes after dropping the eligibility age to 40. (Photo via Twitter)

The county lowered the minimum age to 40 and older, while Gov. Ron DeSantis lowered the eligibility age statewide to 50.

Orange County booked 7,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments in 13 minutes after becoming the first county in Florida to open vaccine eligibility to all residents over the age of 40.

Registration is now closed. Residents must have an appointment to get the vaccine.

Statewide, Gov. Ron DeSantis is lowering the age of eligibility to 50 years old Monday. The governor criticized the decision to drop the age even further by Orange County.

But the governor so far hasn’t blocked the move.

“Trying to do healthy 40-year-olds over maybe finding some more seniors would not be direction that I would go,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis had previously said he would drop eligibility to 55 – but because the demand wasn’t as strong as expected, he decided to drop it to 50. He said the next step for the state would be to open up vaccine eligibility for everyone who is eligible under the FDA’s emergency use authorization.

“So the 16 or 18 up, depending on the shot, we probably can just open it up to everybody,” DeSantis said. “I can’t tell you exactly when that will happen, but I can tell you it will be before May 1.”

Miami Dade County is the next county to announce dropping the age to 40. Miami plans to make the move drop the age to 40 next week – and then drop it by 10 years each week after that until everyone is eligible.

Additionally, Florida is expanding vaccine eligibility for homebound seniors. People can email homeboundvaccine@em.myflorida.com to be put on a list to get the vaccine brought to their home.

Florida Director of Emergency Management Jared Moskowitz said the state planned to send out 1,000 nurses over the weekend to do vaccinations at home.

“Since we launched that website, we have 4,000 new people that are asking us to come vaccinate them at their home that are homebound,” Moskowitz said.

Copyright 2021 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.org.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.