Can Florida meet May 1 deadline for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As those younger than 65 continue to wait their turn, President Joe Biden is giving states, tribes, and territories a deadline: open your vaccine eligibility to all ages by May 1.

Action News Jax medical expert Dr. Michelle Aquino with Baptist Health said to meet that goal, the state has work to do.

READ: Pregnant women can get COVID-19 vaccines at certain Jacksonville vaccination sites

“The bottom line is we need money. We need manpower and we need immunization,” she said.

When it comes to staffing, she said we can pull people from many professions to help.

“Dentists, veterinarians, and also use medical students that have the expertise and can give vaccines,” said Dr. Aquino.

Congressman Al Lawson, who represents parts of Jacksonville, said he’s confident the state can meet the deadline; but he said there’s one area that needs improvement.

“I know (we’ve) got to do a lot of education, that’s one of our problems right now,” said Rep. Lawson.

Miami-Dade County mayor Daniella Levine Cava sent the governor a letter Thursday urging him to create a schedule to expand eligibility.

She proposed that the state lower the minimum age by 10 years every two weeks, but Rep. Lawson isn’t convinced that will help.

>> More information on COVID-19 vaccines

“The issue is that it might become so dominant with younger people showing up that elderly people might not, they’ll say, ‘well, I don’t want to go here, there’s too many people in line,’” said Rep. Lawson.

Starting Monday, March 15, people 60 and older can receive their vaccines at any site in Florida.