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

First shipment of J&J vaccine could cover all law enforcement, firefighters and teachers 50 and older in the state, DeSantis said

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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 Wednesday 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.

"We do know we're scheduled to get 175,000 doses and then, as we go beyond that, hopefully we'll be getting a similar amount or more on a weekly basis," DeSantis said.

The Governor said there is a demand for the one-dose vaccine that received approval from the FDA late last week.

"That's a great vaccine cause it's one dose, you don't have to come back for a booster and it was 100 percent effective at preventing death and serious hospitalization in the clinical trials," DeSantis said.

DeSantis said now that the state has begun vaccinating law enforcement, firefighters and teachers 50 and older, the 175,000 J&J doses could go to them.

"That actually is enough for us to do all law enforcement, all fire and all school age 50 and up in the entire state," DeSantis said.

The state may be partnering with sheriff's offices and schools districts to set up pods to distribute the vaccines, DeSantis said.

"I think we can get thousands and thousands of people through each of these sites very quickly," he said.

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.

The latest news comes as four new federal sites - including one at the north campus of Miami-Dade College - opened Wednesday.

"That's 12,000 doses a day in addition to what we were getting," DeSantis said when speaking on the numbers that would be given at the sites. "The federal government brought additional vaccine, so we're happy to put that to use."

DeSantis continued to say Florida was right to lift mandates on masks and reopen the state earlier than much of the country during the pandemic.

"You can't treat people that way and think there's not going to be major problems," he said before adding that 40 states have a higher mortality rate per capita than Florida among seniors.

The Governor was critical of the Biden administration and said COVID vaccines and federal money should be distributed on a population basis.

"(They're) going to take money away from Florida and other states that have done a better job. How is that fair," DeSantis said. "If anything, we should get more because we have more senior citizens."

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