ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the opening of four FEMA vaccination sites that will be able to vaccinate 2,000 to 3,000 people a day. The sites are in Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando.
DeSantis said the first shipments of the recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine could arrive within the week. He expressed how the new vaccine could improve vaccination logistics as it does not need to be stored in ultra-cold temperatures and does not require a second shot.
While DeSantis did stress the importance of vaccinating seniors, the new vaccination sites and new vaccine will be available to more than just those over 65. People 50 or older who are sworn law enforcement officers, firefighters and K-12 school personnel will be able to be vaccinated.
The news conference was just one day after his State of the State Address, where he formally launched the 2021 legislative session.
During his address, he announced that flags will be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Wednesday to recognize thee victims of COVID-19 and their families. Just over 31,000 Florida residents have died since the pandemic hit the state last March.
"We are saddened by the thousands of Floridians and hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died with COVID and we sympathize with the family members who in many instances were not even permitted to see their loved ones in person, at a nursing home or in the hospital," said DeSantis. "To honor those who have died with COVID and to recognize the toll the virus has taken on family members, the state of Florida will be lowering the flags to half-staff on Wednesday."