Broward County

Broward County Mayor Tells DeSantis Teachers Should be Prioritized in Next Vaccine Round

Two million people 65 and older — about 45% of that population in Florida -- now has at least one shot

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Florida has vaccinated 2.6 million people, and about half that number have received their second booster shots.

The state's vaccinated population so far includes healthcare workers, long-term care residents and staff, people 65 and older, and others at special risk.

Now, Gov. Ron DeSantis is getting advice on who should be next.

When it comes to prioritizing seniors for vaccines, DeSantis led the nation; eventually, the federal government followed his lead and did the same.

Two million people 65 and older — about 45% of that population in Florida -- now has at least one shot.

"I think what you’ll start to see hopefully over the next couple of week is there’ll be a little softening of demand among seniors," DeSantis said Wednesday. "And then once we see that, that’s when we’ll expand to either other age groups and/or some of the key areas, like law enforcement."

The Florida lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police last month asked to be included in DeSantis' next order, and even asked for permission to receive leftover vaccines that at the end of the day would otherwise have to be discarded at vaccination sites.

In Broward County, where about 162,000 seniors already have one or both shots, county mayor Steve Geller contributed his own advice on Friday.

"Simple math says within the next three or four weeks, we will have given a vaccine to every senior in Broward that wants one," Geller said.

Geller sent a letter to DeSantis asking the governor to include people 55 and older, law enforcement, and teachers in the next round of patients.

"If teachers get the vaccine, it’s far more likely that all the schools will reopen," Geller said, noting that would lift a pandemic cloud hanging over teachers, their students, and working parents.

"I think all around, it's important teachers be in the priority group that gets vaccinated," he said.

 DeSantis has mentioned lowering the age and adding law enforcement as part of his next steps, but did not mention teachers on Wednesday..

Geller said he knows DeSantis "has not listened to a thing I've said on masks, but my recommendation is that teachers should be a priority, and I think most people would agree."

In the end, the governor’s opinion will be the only one that matters.

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