coronavirus pandemic

Florida Vaccine Updates: Publix to Begin Vaccinating K-12 Teachers, School Staff

Here's what we know today about the coronavirus outbreak in Florida, and the effort to stop it

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As a limited supply of the coronavirus vaccine has become available across Florida, residents are understandably anxious to know when they will be able to stand in line for a dose.

One of the area's largest health providers will be lowering the age requirements and adding new people eligible to get their doses - while the Biden administration says all adults could be able to be vaccinated earlier than expected.

Here's what we know today about the coronavirus outbreak in Florida, and the effort to stop it.

Walmart Will Give Away Vaccine Doses to Employees, Shoppers to Prevent Them Going to Waste

Walmart has set up a waitlist protocol at each store to prevent vaccine doses from going to waste.

"In the event additional doses from an opened vial are available and there are no scheduled appointments, we turn to individuals, including associates, who fall within that priority to administer the remaining doses," a spokesperson said.

"If no one is available in that priority, where states allow, we move to the next priority."

Employees and even shoppers may be able to get a last-minute appointment if they are around when a dose will otherwise go to waste.

Publix to Begin Vaccinating K-12 Teachers, School Staff

Publix will open COVID-19 vaccination appointments to K-12 teachers and school staff Friday, in accordance with new federal and state guidelines that allow teachers of all ages to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition to teachers, Publix will also start inoculating adults under the age of 65 who are deemed "extremely vulnerable" to COVID-19 as determined by a physician. Health care workers with direct patient contact, residents and staff members of long-term care facilities, and firefighters and law enforcement officers ages 50 and older are also eligible for vaccines.

If you are under 65 years old and have a medical condition that puts you at-risk of contracting COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health requires you to submit this form to receive a shot -- a doctor's note alone will not suffice.

Appointments are required to receive a vaccine and can be made by visiting New slots open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7 a.m.

All Florida Teachers Eligible for Covid Vaccine Under Federal Guidelines

All Florida teachers regardless of age will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines under federal guidelines, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday.

Earlier this week Florida had expanded the vaccine to classroom teachers 50 and older who work in kindergarten through 12th grade. But new federal guidelines allow day care workers, preschool teachers and educators in elementary, middle and high schools to be vaccinated with no age limit.

More here.

Florida to Lower Age for Covid Vaccines ‘Relatively Soon': DeSantis

Florida will be lowering the eligible age for COVID-19 vaccines below 65 "relatively soon," Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday.

Speaking at a news conference at a vaccination site in Crystal River Thursday morning, DeSantis said about 54% of the state's seniors age 65 and older have received a shot, meaning the state is getting closer to lowering the eligible age.

"Which is gonna happen relatively soon, certainly this month, it's just a matter at looking at how much vaccine we're getting and how much coverage we're getting for seniors," he said.

New COVID-19 Vaccination Site Opens in Sweetwater

The city of Sweetwater is now a designated COVID-19 vaccine site location. It will be located at Ronselli Park (250 SW 114th Avenue) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March 3 to March 10th.

Mayor Orlando Lopez partnered with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense to launch the vaccination site.

Long-term facility residents and staff, seniors 65 years and older, health care personnel with direct patient contact, K-12 school employees ages 50 and older, and firefighters ages 50 and over are all eligible to receive a vaccine.

Additionally, hospital providers and licensed physicians can vaccinate those who they deem to be "extremely vulnerable," per an executive order signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis late Friday.

Florida Adds 6,118 New COVID-19 Cases Thursday, as State Reports 120 More Resident Deaths

Florida's confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by more than 6,100 Thursday, as the state's virus-related death toll rose by 120.

The 6,118 new confirmed COVID-19 cases brought Florida's total to 1,930,232 since the outbreak began, according to figures released by the state's department of health.

Another 120 virus-related deaths among Florida residents were reported Thursday, bringing the total to 31,387. An additional 568 non-resident deaths have been confirmed in the state to-date. Most of the newly confirmed deaths occurred days or weeks earlier.

Florida Expected to Get 175K Johnson & Johnson Vaccines by End of Week: DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state would be getting 175,000 doses of the recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the coming days.

DeSantis spoke outside of a bank building in Zephyrhills, located in Pasco County just north of Tampa, adding he was not sure when the dosages would be arriving but expected them by the end of the week.

DeSantis said the state will benefit from the expansion of programs at locations like CVS and Publix in South Florida along with the J&J vaccine's approval and the arrival of over 200,000 Moderna vaccines that were delayed due to severe winter weather last month.

New FEMA Vaccination Site Opens Wednesday at Miami-Dade College's North Campus

The new COVID-19 vaccination site opened as one of four new federally supported sites that will be operating in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced last Friday.

The new site at the college's north campus at 11380 Northwest 27th Avenue opened Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is expected provide 2,000 doses each day. Similar sites will be opening in Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.

Jackson Health CEO Announces New Eligibility for COVID Vaccine Doses

Beginning Wednesday, Jackson Health System will expand its criteria for coronavirus vaccinations to include people ages 50 and over who have a doctor's recommendation based on high-risk conditions.

Those conditions are no longer limited to the 13 laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CEO Charles Migoya said during a news conference Tuesday.

Click here for a complete list of new eligibility requirements.

State Health Department Publishes Form to Help Determine "Extreme Vulnerability" of Patients

The Florida Department of Health published a form for physicians to certify that they have determined an individual to be "extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 and eligible to receive the vaccine."

This form will be used across Florida beginning Wednesday.

President Biden Vows Enough Vaccine for All US Adults by End of May

President Joe Biden said Tuesday the U.S. expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccine for all adults by the end of May — two months earlier than anticipated — and he pushed states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March to hasten school reopenings.

Biden also announced that drugmaker Merck will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved one-shot vaccine, likening the partnership between the two drug companies to the spirit of national cooperation during World War II.

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