FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped in St. Lucie County on Thursday to announce a new, temporary site to make vaccines more accessible to more than 2,000 people.
The governor said over the course of three days that about 2,300 seniors will be vaccinated at the Spanish Lakes senior community near Fort Pierce.
The vaccination site will be open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The governor touted the state's plan to prioritize seniors, saying Florida is among the top-ranking states for senior vaccinations.
"There are some places in the country that like 30 or 35 percent of seniors [vaccinated], so we made the decision to put seniors first," DeSantis said.
He said the latest figures show that Florida has vaccinated about 47 percent of seniors across the state. He said Palm Beach County has vaccinated about 60 percent of its seniors.
"St Lucie has done a good job. They're roughly a little bit below or right at the state average, and our view was we had a community here where there was a lot of demand," DeSantis said. "We can do an extra, hopefully, 2,200 to 2,500 vaccines and maybe get them to over 50 percent of the seniors very shortly."
Nine Publix pharmacies and five Walmarts in St. Lucie County are also currently providing vaccines to seniors.
State Rep. Toby Overdorf said vaccine supplies were low in St. Lucie County a few weeks ago, but he approached the governor about the shortage, and he helped boost supplies.
The governor held a news conference earlier in the day in Jacksonville where he updated the public on vaccine supplies and distribution in Florida.
DeSantis said Thursday the state is establishing six new COVID-19 vaccination sites to provide greater access to the vaccine in underserved populations in Broward, Duval, Leon, Miami-Dade and Osceola counties.
"We would have set up these other six sites last week, but the Moderna [vaccine] got delayed because of the [winter] storm. It was basically sitting in Memphis. We didn't get it until Monday," Desantis said.
These new vaccination sites opened Thursday and will provide vaccines to frontline health care workers and individuals 65 years of age and older. DeSantis said each site will administer 200 vaccines per day and will be open seven days a week.
The governor also said he expects that Florida will lower the age "sometime in March" when more residents will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the timeline will rely on the supply of the vaccine.
"If you're not in the 65+ [age range], it will happen. I think it will happen relatively soon," DeSantis said.
The 42-year-old DeSantis said Thursday when it is his turn to get the shot, he will choose to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
"I'm just going to get the one shot and be done," he said. "I just hope when people are making these decisions aren't thinking that somehow it's ineffective."