Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried urges DeSantis to further expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis Wednesday urging him to follow President Biden’s directive to make vaccines available to all teachers, school staff, and child care workers, regardless of age.

On Monday the Governor signed an executive order opening up the COVID-19 vaccination in Florida for K-12 teachers, sworn law enforcement and firefighters over the age of 50.

The governor said he expects the state’s vaccine allotment to be reinforced this week by increased shipments from Pfizer, the opening of four new federal vaccination sites, and the highly anticipated arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In her official statement, Fried also pressed the Governor to open vaccines to farmworkers, agricultural and food production workers, and other essential workers who face elevated risk of COVID-19 illness.

“Getting our economy back on track is dependent on our health – and that hinges on the ability of parents to get to work, which means ensuring their children have a safe school environment,” Fried wrote in the letter. “It also depends on some of our most vulnerable workers staying healthy, productive, and supporting Florida’s key industries, from agriculture to small businesses. Working with the Biden Administration to accomplish these goals is a necessity.”

Commissioner Fried’s call follows President Biden’s announcement yesterday that his Administration would urge vaccines for all teachers, school staff, and child care workers by the end of March, given a major increase in vaccine availability by May.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator.