ORLANDO, Fla. — The number of Floridians eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine expanded on Monday as the state allowed anybody age 50 and up to get the shot.
The county that is home to the state’s biggest theme parks set the bar even lower by allowing anyone age 40 and up to get an injection.
With the loosening of the qualifications, more than a third of Floridians were now eligible solely based on age.
Starting Monday, Orange County expanded the age eligibility a decade lower than the statewide requirement. Reservations were required for the drive-thru site at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, and 7,000 appointments were filled within 13 minutes.
In expanding the eligibility, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said last week there has been decreasing demand at the site. He said he had notified the state and felt he had the authority to expand eligibility in the county.
DeSantis said he had concerns about Orange County “choosing to prioritize a healthy 40-year-old” over older residents. “It’s not authorized,” said DeSantis.
But Demings said his goal was to get as many people in Orange County vaccinated. “This is about the safety of the people in this community.”