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East County Tuesday, Mar. 9, 2021 10 months ago

Florida's vaccine age requirement will be lowered to 60 by order of Gov. Ron DeSantis

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Manatee County public safety director says he will continue to focus on 65 and up category.
by: Brendan Lavell Staff Writer

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday the age requirement for the general public to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Florida will be lowered from 65 to 60 next week.

The change will take effect beginning March 15. Manatee County Public Safety Director Jacob Saur said he remains committed to vaccinating seniors age 65 and up in the county's Vaccine Standby Pool as soon as possible. Some seniors have been waiting for a vaccine since the pool opened Jan. 7.

"I don't want anyone waiting longer than they have to," Saur said.

Specifically, Saur said a substantial amount of Manatee County seniors are opting out of the pool upon being contacted to schedule vaccine appointments, often because they have already received the vaccine elsewhere.

This creates gaps of appointments that need to be filled so all vaccine doses allocated for a given day can be distributed. Saur said the county could still focus on booking appointments for seniors 65 and up, while using people age 60 to 64 to fill in the gaps.

Saur said he believes all Manatee County seniors 65 and older, assisted living facility patients, healthcare workers, paramedics, teachers 50 and older and first responders 50 and older who want to be vaccinated will have received their first dose by the end of March, barring unforeseen circumstances.

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Brendan Lavell is a general assignment reporter for the Observer. He earned degrees in journalism and history at the University of Missouri. He has visited 48 of the 50 United States, has a black cat named Arya and roots for the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, 76ers and Chelsea FC.

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