The head of Jackson Health System in Miami says the hospital group is looking at a plan to lower the age for those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Jackson Health said they've already vaccinated 83,000 people and CEO Carlos Migoya is now in talks with the governor’s office about reducing the age limit for the vaccine to 55.
At a news conference near Tampa Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said for now the vaccine age will remain 65 and up, aside from people under 65 with a specific medical condition, but he said so much progress is being made with seniors that it is opening the door for those below that age to possibly soon be offered the vaccine.
"About 42% of all seniors have gotten a shot in the state of Florida. That’s one of the highest percentages in the county,” DeSantis said.
Florida has about 4.5 million seniors, with around 2 million receiving shots so far, DeSantis said.
"As we get into two and a half, three million, you will start to see the demand soften. So, if you have Walmart, or Publix, or these community sites, they have trouble filling up appointments, well yeah, we are going to open it up but as of right now we still have more demand than supply on a weekly basis so we are going to stay the course with helping seniors first," DeSantis said. "Once the seniors are done we are going to open it up."
Officials with Jackson said the demand with seniors appears to be diminishing and that as they keep working their way through seniors, by the end of the week it may have worked out a plan with the state to lower the age limit.
What is the potential sticking point? If you are 55 to 65 you must also have an underlying condition. Just how that is going to be defined and who is going to make that definition is still what they need to nail down.
Lowering the age would have a real impact on people like Doral resident Alberto Ruiz, who like many is ready to go back to the life he had before the pandemic.
"I welcome the opportunity of having it. It many not be a permanent solution, we don’t know, but if it's something being offered we should take it. It’s better than nothing," Ruiz said.