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Gov. Ron DeSantis touts 'economic momentum' in Florida during stop in Ocala

State will lower age requirement to 60 or 55 'relatively soon'
DeSantis speaks at retirement community in Ocala, March 5, 2021
Posted at 10:26 AM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 14:55:31-05

OCALA, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke Friday morning at a retirement community in Ocala to announce more vaccines for seniors and highlight a bounce back in the economy.


The governor was at the On Top of the World retirement community where he announced a three-day, pop-up vaccine site. He said 3,300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are coming to the location to vaccinate seniors.

DeSantis said the site was chosen because under 50 percent of Marion County's seniors had been vaccinated.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announces pop-up vaccine site in Ocala (16 minutes)

RELATED: Website helps you track down locations, availability

More than 2.5 million seniors have been vaccinated in Florida, according to the latest figures provided by the state.

The governor then spoke Friday afternoon at the Polk County Sheriff's Office where 2,000 law enforcement members over 50 years old will receive Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

He said the shots will go to authorities serving in Polk, Hardy, Highlands and Lake counties.

After receiving a recent shipment of 175,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, DeSantis said Florida would not be receiving any more J&J doses for about two weeks.

"We think the production will ramp back up, and we'll start getting more and more J&J," DeSantis said.

The governor continued to reiterate that the state will be looking at lowering the age requirements to receive the vaccine "sometime in March" for people either age 60 or 55 "relatively soon."

Gov. Ron DeSantis announce vaccines for law enforcement in Polk County (22 minutes)

DeSantis said the state's revised unemployment rate in December was 5.1 percent, saying Florida continues to have growing economic momentum.

"The only reason we're doing it is that Florida's open. We're trusting people to make decisions. We want businesses to be functional and operational. We want people working," DeSantis said.

He said state revenues were above projections in part because people are buying homes "like hotcakes here" because of the booming real estate market.

Sales tax revenues were up 10 percent over the estimate in February and corporation filing fees were up 74 percent above the estimate in Florida, according to DeSantis.

"People are looking to be able to start businesses here. Lord knows you can't start businesses in a lot of these other states, so they're coming here to do it," DeSantis said.

The governor has come under increased criticism for his administration's vaccine distribution, prompting Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Thursday to demand an FBI investigation into what she called "public corruption."

The governor said Thursday all school employees and child care workers in Florida, regardless of age, can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.